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Nick Stevens

Big match-ups headline opening day of Holiday Invitational

Published: 2013-12-26 00:21:00
Updated: 2013-12-26 12:37:41


Dec 26, 2013

Devin Booker of Moss Point (Miss) vs. Pascagoula. (Photo Courtesy: Mike Kittrell/GulfLive.com)

Devin Booker of Moss Point (Miss) vs. Pascagoula. (Photo Courtesy: Mike Kittrell/GulfLive.com)

In 1963, Edward Pola and George Wyle wrote a Christmas song that was recorded for the first time by singer Andy Williams. Since, musicians and artists have put their own spin on the song.

I'm talking about the Christmas song "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year."

The Holiday Invitational didn't start for another nine years after the song was written, but their is certainly meaning the exists between the song and the tournament. What started as a local basketball tournament has turned into one of the top national high school basketball tournaments in the country, and quite honestly, it is one of the best times of the year.

Speaking as someone who grew up a basketball fan on Tobacco Road, being able to drive a few minutes and step into a gym where a number of future ACC players, other Division I players, and some of the top area teams are playing is incredible.

This will be my eighth season covering the Holiday Invitational, but having the privilege of being involved in such a prestigious tournament has been an honor the last three years, and I hope it is something that continues for years to come.

One of the most memorable fields for me was in 2008. I often tell the story of how hundreds of people were outside Holliday Gymnasium at Broughton High School trying to get in to see John Wall and the Word of God Holy Rams win the title. I was actually offered $50 to let someone in the backdoor that night. I, of course, did not accept it, but it shows just how popular this tournament can be.

I have no doubt this year will be just as good, and I fully expect sellout crowds each day.

Today we tip off the 42nd HighSchoolOT.com Holiday Invitational, and if you haven't heard already, the field is loaded. Among the many Division-I players we have eight five-star players and six four-star players, making up some of the top teams in the state and the nation.

The girls field won't disappoint either. There is a lot of talent from different levels of girls basketball in North Carolina – teams that played for regional and state titles last year, players who are Division-I prospects, and even several Division-I recruits.

Tickets are $12. They're good for the entire day, and they're only available at the door. All tickets are general admission, so get there early. Once the gym fills up, the doors will be locked.

Here's a look at the schedule for Day 1:

Girls @ Cary Academy

11:00 AM - Hillside vs. Chapel Hill
12:30 PM - Broughton vs. Dudley
2:00 PM - West Craven vs. Cary
3:30 PM - Riverside vs. West Forsyth

Boys @ Broughton

10:00 AM - Wilbraham & Monson (MA) vs. Middle Creek (Summit Bracket)
11:30 AM - Apex vs. Moss Point (MS) (Shavlik Randolph Bracket)
1:00 PM - Broughton vs. Kinston (Shavlik Randolph Bracket)
2:30 PM - Garner vs. Wheeler (GA) (Shavlik Randolph Bracket)
4:00 PM - Sanderson vs. Carlisle (VA) (Summit Bracket)
5:30 PM - Trinity Christian vs. Hammond School (VA) (Summit Bracket)
7:00 PM - Clayton vs. Lake Highland Prep (FL) (Shavlik Randolph Bracket)
8:30 PM - HCYA (TX) vs. Word of God (Summit Bracket)

Follow Nick Stevens on Twitter @NickStevensHSOT

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  1. NickStevensHSOT: RT @mgelling4977: @NickStevensHSOT In your spare time check out this article. http://t.co/72JIp2htcL Thank you.
      — Monday, July 28, 2014 12:25 AM
  2. NickStevensHSOT: RT @CoachRYoung: @NickStevensHSOT you outdid yourself w/this one sir! Were you hanging out in my classroom during lunch w/ @CoachBristol an…
      — Monday, July 28, 2014 12:05 AM
  3. NickStevensHSOT: RT @footbaldycoach: "Must read to believe! Coaches out of Control http://t.co/z8vQrnXK0l #Iwill stand #forthekids
      — Sunday, July 27, 2014 10:22 PM
  4. NickStevensHSOT: RT @SCSportsReport: @NickStevensHSOT The term "scout" gets used a lot here,It should make people run. Kudos to all HS coaches that do this …
      — Sunday, July 27, 2014 10:04 PM
  5. NickStevensHSOT: RT @SCSportsReport: @HighSchoolOT @cavshoops @NickStevensHSOT Nice Work Nick, Keep after it
      — Sunday, July 27, 2014 9:46 PM
  6. NickStevensHSOT: RT @wjmckeown: @HighSchoolOT @NickStevensHSOT excellent points Nick. Pop up schools, worldwide Wes and AAU leeches aren't what HS players n…
      — Sunday, July 27, 2014 9:42 PM
  7. NickStevensHSOT: RT @cavshoops: @HighSchoolOT @NickStevensHSOT That being said there are a few organizations that are run the right way. Unfortunately too …
      — Sunday, July 27, 2014 9:33 PM
  8. NickStevensHSOT: RT @cavshoops: @HighSchoolOT @NickStevensHSOT So many people (trainers, coaches, tournament directors) try to claim a piece of credit for e…
      — Sunday, July 27, 2014 9:27 PM
  9. NickStevensHSOT: RT @cavshoops: @HighSchoolOT @NickStevensHSOT Well said and thanks!! Most college coaches I know consider it a "necessary evil" due to liv…
      — Sunday, July 27, 2014 9:26 PM
  10. NickStevensHSOT: RT @Coach_Shiffman: @HighSchoolOT @NickStevensHSOT great piece. Too many kids get told they will be D1 in basketball so they only focus on …
      — Sunday, July 27, 2014 9:21 PM
  11. HighSchoolOT: We're hosting our annual kickoff tomorrow for HS football coaches. Can't wait to host them all! #HSOT http://t.co/iy8WaAKzcL
      — Sunday, July 27, 2014 9:20 PM
  12. NickStevensHSOT: RT @CaryCoaching: @NickStevensHSOT @HighSchoolOT Great article. So many kids miss their opportunities by not understanding this
      — Sunday, July 27, 2014 9:18 PM
  13. NickStevensHSOT: Gotten lots of positive feedback this weekend. Obviously I'm not the only one who sees the issues in basketball. #LetsFixThem
      — Sunday, July 27, 2014 9:17 PM
  14. NickStevensHSOT: RT @HighSchoolOT: ICYMI: @NickStevensHSOT's part 2 of his column; today he explains why HS coaches need bigger roles than club coaches:
      — Sunday, July 27, 2014 9:17 PM
  15. HighSchoolOT: ICYMI: @NickStevensHSOT's part 2 of his column; today he explains why HS coaches need bigger roles than club coaches: http://t.co/K3VSbUBkcV
      — Sunday, July 27, 2014 9:16 PM
  16. ZachMayoHSOT: Looking forward to hearing @steveloganshow speak tomorrow at the #HSOTKickoff. Always great to hear him talk football/anything else.
      — Sunday, July 27, 2014 8:48 PM
  17. NickStevensHSOT: RT @bobbyguthrie71: Nick certainly brings up thoughts to consider... High school coaches should play a bigger role #HSOT
      — Sunday, July 27, 2014 6:26 PM
  18. NickStevensHSOT: RT @WestoverBBall: @NickStevensHSOT I just tweeted that because it seems like most athletes, parents think AAU is THE way to get to school…
      — Sunday, July 27, 2014 6:11 PM
  19. NickStevensHSOT: RT @WestoverBBall: @NickStevensHSOT An example of a current player that made it to a top D1 school w/o AAU exposure, Otto Porter. Think he…
      — Sunday, July 27, 2014 6:11 PM
  20. NickStevensHSOT: RT @bulldawgpride: “@HighSchoolOT: Part 2 of @NickStevensHSOT's column: The high school coach should play a bigger role:
      — Sunday, July 27, 2014 5:26 PM
  21. NickStevensHSOT: RT @HighSchoolOT: ICYMI: @NickStevensHSOT talks about the need to increase the role of the HS coach in basketball: http://t.co/K3VSbUBkcV #…
      — Sunday, July 27, 2014 4:36 PM
  22. HighSchoolOT: ICYMI: @NickStevensHSOT talks about the need to increase the role of the HS coach in basketball: http://t.co/K3VSbUBkcV #HSOT
      — Sunday, July 27, 2014 4:35 PM
  23. NickStevensHSOT: RT @Ike_Walker: @NickStevensHSOT Great article!! I discussed a lot of this with my team in the spring of 2012.. thank you!! #CREDENTIALS
      — Sunday, July 27, 2014 4:18 PM
  24. HighSchoolOT: RT @LARRYBECK5: @HighSchoolOT @NickStevensHSOT Nick with a grand slam. High School Coaches should be looked up to, not looked down on.
      — Sunday, July 27, 2014 3:24 PM
  25. HighSchoolOT: Stevens: High school coaches should play a bigger role http://t.co/gnEDoJKUks
      — Sunday, July 27, 2014 1:26 PM
  26. HighSchoolOT: Part 2 of @NickStevensHSOT's column: The high school coach should play a bigger role: http://t.co/K3VSbUBkcV #HSOT
      — Sunday, July 27, 2014 12:51 PM
  27. HighSchoolOT: Coming up later today, part 2 of @NickStevensHSOT's column: The role of the HS coach, how/why it should be increased. #HSOT
      — Sunday, July 27, 2014 10:31 AM
  28. HighSchoolOT: ICYMI yesterday: @NickStevensHSOT talks about issues with club basketball and so-called scouts & trainers: http://t.co/Lj8miysV4i #HSOT
      — Sunday, July 27, 2014 10:30 AM
  29. HighSchoolOT: RT @NickStevensHSOT: Thanks to everyone for the feedback on my column today. Finishing touches on part two now, it'll be up tomorrow aftern…
      — Saturday, July 26, 2014 10:52 PM
  30. HighSchoolOT: RT @ZachMayoHSOT: Finally leaving @WRAL after a long day working on #HSOT24. We've got lots coming at you Aug 1.
      — Saturday, July 26, 2014 9:46 PM
  31. HighSchoolOT: RT @NickStevensHSOT: That '89 Clayton team only gave up 14 1Q points all season, all 14 to Wallace-Rose Hill in the 2nd round of the playof…
      — Saturday, July 26, 2014 9:17 PM
  32. HighSchoolOT: RT @NickStevensHSOT: This year marks 25 years since Clayton's football state title. Did you know the '89 Comets didn't give up any 3Q point…
      — Saturday, July 26, 2014 9:14 PM
  33. HighSchoolOT: RT @chargersCOACH: This Nick Stevens article is right on point!!! Consider the source: Ask questions, be skeptical http://t.co/uxmiW4Zr0I
      — Saturday, July 26, 2014 8:30 PM
  34. HighSchoolOT: It'll be here before you know it! Dec. 26-27, 29-30 at Broughton! #HSOTInvite http://t.co/qp7o47bwg6
      — Saturday, July 26, 2014 7:51 PM
  35. HighSchoolOT: Tomorrow, @NickStevensHSOT posts part two of his column. He will look at why the role of the HS coach needs to increase & how to do it.
      — Saturday, July 26, 2014 7:45 PM
  36. HighSchoolOT: ICYMI: @NickStevensHSOT shares his thoughts on club basketball, scouts & trainers -- consider the source: http://t.co/Lj8miysV4i #HSOT
      — Saturday, July 26, 2014 7:19 PM
  37. HighSchoolOT: ICYMI: As football season approaches, East Chapel Hill has hired its new football coach: http://t.co/CwwS99q5rP #HSOT
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  38. HighSchoolOT: ICYMI: Panther Creek won't look the same on the field this year, but they still plan to win the same way: http://t.co/0rzHScYkqB #HSOT
      — Saturday, July 26, 2014 7:18 PM
  39. HighSchoolOT: RT @WestoverBBall: Great article @NickStevensHSOT ready for part two: Consider the source: Ask questions, be skeptical
      — Saturday, July 26, 2014 7:06 PM
  40. HighSchoolOT: RT @HS_HAWKS_FB: “@HighSchoolOT: Stevens: Consider the source: Ask questions, be skeptical http://t.co/6omNPLd8p3” Good article Nick!!
      — Saturday, July 26, 2014 6:17 PM