Annual tournament set to tip off
By Joey Jones | Staff Writer
Friday, November 27, 2009

The 16th annual 100 Black Men of Augusta Thanksgiving Basketball Classic tips off this afternoon with some of the area's powerhouse programs looking to build on last season's success and a few others just looking for a fresh start.

The two-day showcase will feature Richmond Academy, which is playing host to the event. The Musketeers are coming off their best season in more than 50 years, making it all the way to the state semifinals before falling to Miller Grove.

Richmond Academy will play Aiken, which narrowly missed a playoff berth last season, at 4:30 p.m.

Aquinas is making its first appearance in the tournament. The Fighting Irish went 18-6 last season and reached the second round of the Class A playoffs. Their opponent in today's opening game is Strom Thurmond, which made it to the second round of the playoffs in South Carolina. The Rebels will be led this season by center Alex Parks, a first team all-area selection last season.

Glenn Hills and Laney, which square off in today's final game at 6:15 p.m., join Richmond Academy as the only schools to have played in each of the previous 15 tournaments. The Wildcats and Spartans are hoping that last season's playoff hiatus was a one-year deal. Laney reached the second round in 2008 while Glenn Hills won a state championship.

Butler opens its season today against North Augusta with a new head coach, Emmett Rouse. Rouse, who actually started his career at Butler in the mid-1990s, inherits a Bulldogs team that went 9-17 last season.

The Yellow Jackets are looking to get back on track after missing the playoffs a year after reaching the state quarterfinals.

On Saturday, the tournament resumes with a slam dunk and 3-point contest beginning at 10:30 a.m., followed by four more games: Aiken vs. Butler, Glenn Hills vs. Strom Thurmond, North Augusta vs. Aquinas and Richmond Academy vs. Laney.

Local step teams and marching bands will highlight the halftime festivities. Tickets are $7.

Reach Joey Jones at (706) 823-3304 or joey.jones@augustachronicle.com.

TODAY'S GAMES

at Richmond Academy

- Aquinas vs. Strom Thurmond, 1 p.m.

- Butler vs. North Augusta, 2:45

- Richmond Academy vs. Aiken, 4:30

- Laney vs. Glenn Hills, 6:15

From the Friday, November 27, 2009 edition of the Augusta Chronicle
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