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U Save It boys hoops event changes format to tournament as action tips off today at Albany High

ALBANY — Eight boys basketball teams, including all four Dougherty County high schools, and teams from Terrell County and Mitchell County will tip off the U Save It Pharmacy Boys Basketball Tournament beginning today at Albany High.

Want To Go?/Looking Ahead

U Save it Pharmacy Boys Basketball Tournament schedule

Today

(All games at Albany High)

4 p.m.

Westover vs. SE Bulloch

5:30 p.m.

Dougherty vs. Statesboro

7 p.m.

Monroe vs. Mitchell County

8:30 p.m.

Albany vs. Terrell County

Monday

(All games at Albany High)

4 p.m.

Westover-SE Bulloch loser vs. Monroe-Mitchell loser

5:30 p.m.

Dougherty-Statesboro loser vs. Albany-Terrell loser

7 p.m.

Dougherty-Statesboro winner vs. Albany-Terrell winner

8:30 p.m.

Westover-SE Bulloch winner vs. Monroe-Mitchell winner

Tuesday

(All games at Albany Civic Center)

4 p.m.

Fifth-place game, teams TBD

5:30 p.m.

Third-place game, teams TBD

7 p.m.

Championship game, teams TBD

The format has changed from having predetermined games back to the original win-and-move-on tournament format, so this year’s classic will crown a champion.

The first two days of the tournament will be played at Albany High, today and Monday, but Tuesday the tournament action shifts to the Albany Civic Center, where the fifth-place game begins at 4 p.m., followed by the third-place game at 5:30 p.m. The championship game will be played at 7 p.m.

There could be some classic matchups in the tournament.

Herald No. 3 Westover opens the tournament against Southeast Bulloch at 4 p.m. today, and the winner moves on to play the winner of Monroe-Mitchell County. Monroe, ranked No. 1 in The Herald’s Fab 5 poll, plays Mitchell at 7 p.m. today.

The top half of the bracket could produce a Monday night game between Albany’s two biggest rivals, because if Monroe and Westover win today, the two city rivals would face each other at 8:30 p.m. on Monday.

The other half of the bracket is just as interesting, because it includes Herald No. 2 Albany High, Dougherty High and Class A powerhouse Terrell County.

Dougherty plays Statesboro at 5:30 p.m. today, and Albany High meets Terrell County at 8:30 tonight in the final game of Day 1. The two winners will meet at 7 p.m. on Monday.

“The matchups are great. You can’t beat the matchups,’’ Albany High boys basketball coach Archie Chatmon said. “It’s great for the fans. You’ve got the four local schools and we’re bringing in Mitchell and Terrell County, and bringing in Statesboro and Southeast Bulloch. You’ve got a good tournament.’’

Chatmon, whose school has hosted the holiday hoops event for years, has played under both formats.

“We played a tournament forever, but we changed because of other teams that came in here,’’ he said. “We wanted to bring in the best teams from everywhere and showcase basketball. But teams can’t travel (on certain days) and the state restricts how many games teams can play, so we went to the shootout format.

“This will be a good tournament.’’