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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. HighSchoolOT: RT @CapsLax: @HighSchoolOT probably just white because #sNOway we play again! #justkidding #ihope
      — Thursday, February 26, 2015 11:51 PM
  2. HighSchoolOT: RT @kelbi1lewis: @HighSchoolOT navy blue & white !!!
      — Thursday, February 26, 2015 11:51 PM
  3. HighSchoolOT: RT @reignkings: @HighSchoolOT green and black #westbrunswick #Trojans
      — Thursday, February 26, 2015 11:33 PM
  4. HighSchoolOT: RT @RCKount: Hey NCHSAA, these guys don't need to travel to finish this basketball tournament. Everybody, get out your Xbox!
      — Thursday, February 26, 2015 11:00 PM
  5. HighSchoolOT: RT @mrt423: @HighSchoolOT Green and Gold of the Kinston Vikings!!
      — Thursday, February 26, 2015 10:54 PM
  6. HighSchoolOT: RT @lindsey_naylor9: @HighSchoolOT blue and orange! North Pitt
      — Thursday, February 26, 2015 10:53 PM
  7. HighSchoolOT: RT @NickStevensHSOT: If you're a #HSOTInvite fan, you're a @BCHanks fan. He's integral to our operation there.
      — Thursday, February 26, 2015 10:53 PM
  8. HighSchoolOT: RT @NickStevensHSOT: Big congrats to my friend @BCHanks who is now officially in charge of the top small daily paper in NC (even though we …
      — Thursday, February 26, 2015 10:53 PM
  9. NickStevensHSOT: If you're a #HSOTInvite fan, you're a @BCHanks fan. He's integral to our operation there.
      — Thursday, February 26, 2015 10:52 PM
  10. NickStevensHSOT: Big congrats to my friend @BCHanks who is now officially in charge of the top small daily paper in NC (even though we already knew that).
      — Thursday, February 26, 2015 10:52 PM
  11. HighSchoolOT: RT @estevalencia55: @HighSchoolOT black & yellow #PeakZiti #Apex #repeat
      — Thursday, February 26, 2015 10:46 PM
  12. NickStevensHSOT: RT @Rob_Maloney: @NickStevensHSOT @jmeb22 black and blue
      — Thursday, February 26, 2015 10:42 PM
  13. HighSchoolOT: RT @_ElvisWest: @HighSchoolOT purple & gold! Tarboro high!
      — Thursday, February 26, 2015 10:38 PM
  14. HighSchoolOT: RT @Stalen_M: @HighSchoolOT Purple and Gold #GoEagles #Rosewood #Seagles
      — Thursday, February 26, 2015 10:33 PM
  15. HighSchoolOT: RT @wjmckeown: @HighSchoolOT oh, there's gonna be a playoff? :) Navy Blue, Gray and White @MillbrookMBB
      — Thursday, February 26, 2015 10:32 PM
  16. HighSchoolOT: Oh, there's gonna be a playoff! RT @wjmckeown: @HighSchoolOT oh, there's gonna be a playoff? :)
      — Thursday, February 26, 2015 10:32 PM
  17. HighSchoolOT: RT @LRHSathletics: @HighSchoolOT I see Navy and Kelly Green making a run in both men and women's. #RollPride
      — Thursday, February 26, 2015 10:31 PM
  18. HighSchoolOT: RT @Nick_Que3: @HighSchoolOT Forrest Green & Old Gold #KINSTONTOUGH
      — Thursday, February 26, 2015 10:30 PM
  19. HighSchoolOT: RT @dopeMENTALITY__: @HighSchoolOT blue & white #Millbrook
      — Thursday, February 26, 2015 10:30 PM
  20. HighSchoolOT: RT @MattSholtis: @HighSchoolOT Black and Gold!! http://t.co/ImBBIhJtrG
      — Thursday, February 26, 2015 10:29 PM
  21. HighSchoolOT: RT @dbrown_03: @HighSchoolOT ORANGE AND BLACK #GOPANTHERS
      — Thursday, February 26, 2015 10:28 PM
  22. HighSchoolOT: Let's talk about a more important color... What colors will we see in the basketball state championship? Who will be there?
      — Thursday, February 26, 2015 10:27 PM
  23. NickStevensHSOT: RT @ProfesoraMLJ13: .@NickStevensHSOT @EwaVarGirlsGolf I'm convinced someone out there knew how bored we all are & decided to occupy our mi…
      — Thursday, February 26, 2015 10:17 PM
  24. NickStevensHSOT: When all of Wake County is debating over the color of a dress, it is time for the snow to melt. #cabinfever
      — Thursday, February 26, 2015 9:51 PM
  25. NickStevensHSOT: Black & blue ⚫️🔵 RT @jmeb22: @NickStevensHSOT black and blue? Or white and gold? Whatever u say goes http://t.co/dTGPmodu7d
      — Thursday, February 26, 2015 9:35 PM
  26. NickStevensHSOT: Not gonna lie, I am a tiny (a lot) bit jealous of my fellow members of the media who got to cover basketball tonight.❄️
      — Thursday, February 26, 2015 9:32 PM
  27. NickStevensHSOT: Glow stick snowmen are the best snowmen #ncwx #wralsnow https://t.co/xch11VBaZA
      — Thursday, February 26, 2015 8:04 PM
  28. Chris__Edwards: RT @Duke_BASE: Duke snowman from one of our campers. Thanks for sending the pic! #goduke http://t.co/32Q45P11Ek
      — Thursday, February 26, 2015 6:47 PM
  29. Chris__Edwards: RT @Duke_GAMEDAY: Making serious progress at Jack Coombs and Brooks Turf http://t.co/wUwt0uoyZs
      — Thursday, February 26, 2015 6:46 PM
  30. NickStevensHSOT: RT @SamWalkerOBX: @NickStevensHSOT Add Currituck to that one. 2A Girls West Bladen at Currituck, Saturday 5pm
      — Thursday, February 26, 2015 6:39 PM
  31. NickStevensHSOT: No surprise here. Wake County Schools are closed on Friday for the 8th time in two weeks.
      — Thursday, February 26, 2015 6:16 PM
  32. NickStevensHSOT: And I would suspect we're going to be adding to that list of closed districts. I'll update the map as we go through the night.
      — Thursday, February 26, 2015 6:01 PM
  33. NickStevensHSOT: By my count, there are 15 districts closed tomorrow who have teams participating in the East playoffs in boys/girls basketball.
      — Thursday, February 26, 2015 6:00 PM
  34. NickStevensHSOT: To show how widespread this basketball issue is, here's an *unofficial* look at NC districts already closed Friday. http://t.co/tdrlMTOqmX
      — Thursday, February 26, 2015 5:59 PM
  35. NickStevensHSOT: Also, we tend to focus on the big counties. This is also really messing up some of the smaller schools. Not limited to 4A at all.
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  38. NickStevensHSOT: Not sure how that problem could be remedied without pushing playoffs back, and I don't see that happening. Adversity to play through I guess
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