ALBANY — One of the biggest high school basketball showcases in the area has gotten even bigger. This year’s edition of the U-Save-It Classic has added a fourth day to the schedule.
The tournament, which is hosted by Albany High School, will begin Friday and run through Tuesday with all teams taking a break on Sunday.
The classic will feature 13 teams instead of 12. Due to the odd number of participants, each school will have at least one day off in addition to Sunday, since the Georgia High School Association mandates that Sunday competition is not allowed.
All four Dougherty County schools will participate in the U-Save-It along with Lee County and Terrell County. The local schools will be joined by Americus-Sumter, Colquitt County, South Cobb, Southeast Bulloch, Manchester, Cedar Grove and Statesboro.
“We want to bring in the best teams and talent that we can as a showcase event for the community,” Albany coach and tournament director Archie Chatmon said. “Through the years, we have had some great teams and great players come through here. It is a great event for the community.”
Chatmon said it also gives coaches, himself included, an opportunity to evaluate their teams.
“It is a chance to use the tournament as a measuring stick,” Chatmon said. “Many times coming out of this tournament, we have a realistic idea of what chances we have to move far in the playoffs. Often, teams that do really well in this event tend to do well in the playoffs.”
For the most part, the schedule pits local schools against out of town schools, but there are a couple matchups between area teams.
The opening game of the showcase, which tips off at 4 p.m. Friday, is a matchup between Terrell County and Lee County. This will be the third time the teams have faced each other this year with the Trojans winning the first two meetings. The Greenwave will also face Americus-Sumter to close the tournament on Tuesday night.
Monroe comes into the U-Save-It as one of the hottest teams in the area. The Tornadoes are 6-2 and have beat each of the other Dougherty County schools this year. Their only two losses have come against Tallahassee (Fla.) schools. They will face South Cobb on Friday night and Colquitt County Tuesday night.
Of the out of area schools, Statesboro heads to the showcase with a 6-2 record. The Blue Devils face Americus-Sumter on Saturday, Dougherty on Friday and close the tournament with a game against Westover.