Dec 27, 2011
Big crowds packed the gymnasium on the campus of Cary Academy Monday to watch the opening games of the 40th edition of the HighSchoolOT.com Holiday Invitational.
The tournament, formerly known as the GlaxoSmithKline Holiday Invitational, has become one of the nation's most highly-rated holiday basketball events.
In many ways, the week between Christmas and New Year's in the Triangle has become forever linked with great high school basketball competition. That tradition continues in 2011.
Play expanded this year to five days and includes 32 teams – 20 boys teams and 12 girls teams.
Some of the best local basketball teams will be paired with high-profile national programs, bringing the level of competition during the week-long event to an all-time high. Fans can also catch a glimpse of several players who will be playing at the next level in the Triangle.
Rodney Purvis, who has signed to play at N.C. State in 2012, leads a talented Upper Room Academy squad in the Summit Hospitality Bracket. That bracket also features St. Marks High School's Kaleb Tarczewski, a 7-foot center who is the No. 6-ranked player in the class of 2012. Tarczewski will play for Arizona in 2012.
Local product Anton Gill, who recently committed to Louisville, is also in the Summit Hospitality bracket and will lead Ravenscroft against Greenfield School Tuesday at 5:40 p.m. at Broughton High School.
There are several stars within the 12 girls teams as well. Vanderbilt signee Kristen Gaffney led Green Hope to a 54-42 win over Cary Christian Monday night. Millbrook's Briana Day, a UNC commit, was also impressive, scoring 12 points to help the Lady Wildcats down Bunn 44-20.
Proceeds from the tournament benefit the non-profit Triangle Educational Advancement Foundation.
The foundation gives five thousand dollar scholarships to ten Triangle area students each year to help them get a head start on a college education.
Games continue all day Tuesday and throughout the week at Cary Academy and Broughton High School.
Radio hosts from 99.9 FM The Fan and 620 AM The Buzz will provide halftime entertainment each evening, with games and giveways, and the two championship games Friday night will be broadcast live on 99.9FM The Fan.
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