With Doug Haines of the Buckeye Insurance Group and Rick Muzzy of Muzzy Broadcasting involved you can expect nothing but the best with 2017 B.I.G. Holiday Classic, which will be held Thursday and Friday at Garbry Gymnasium.
The tenth edition of the tournament, which began in 2009, will be no different.
“As a college athlete who played in some big tournaments like Hawaii and the Alaska Shootout, I think this tournament is one of the premier high school holiday tournaments,” Piqua athletic director Chip Hare said. “Not just from a competitive standpoint, but from the way the coaches and players are treated and the experience they have.
“It is an experience the kids won’t forget and it is also a chance to win a two-day holiday tournament.”
Once again, the senior lettermen with the highest GPA on each team will receive a scholarship — sponsored by WPTW and Muzzy Broadcasting, along with Buckeye Insurance Group.
This year, the tournament will be reverting to its original four-team format.
Three of the four teams — Covington, Lehman Catholic and Piqua have been part of the tournament since it began, while Troy Christian has participated the last two seasons, when it was an eight-team tournament.
“I think for Piqua, it is an opportunity to showcase the facility — and for Lehman and Covington it is an opportunity to play two games on the floor where they are going to play in the sectional tournament,” Hare said. “And for Piqua, it will be a chance to renew a friendly rivalry with Lehman, that doesn’t happen that often in basketball.”
Tickets are $6 and can be purchased at the door.
For both JV and varsity games, one ticket provides admission to all the games at that level each day.
The JV tournament will be played at 2:30 and 4 p.m. each day.
On Thursday, Covington will play Troy Christian at 2:30 p.m., followed by Piqua and Lehman Catholic at 4 p.m.
On Friday, the consolation game will tip at 2:30 p.m., followed by the championship game at 4 p.m.
The varsity games will be played at 6 and 7:30 p.m. each night.
Covington and Troy Christian will start things off Thursday.
Covington, coached by Matt Pond, comes in with a record of 2-5.
The Buccs are led by 6-4 senior Zach Parrett, who averages 12.0 points per game, while 6-1 senior Braden Miller averages 10.0 points per game.
Bradley Wiggins, a 6-2 senior, recently hit a big 3-pointer against Arcanum to cap a 19-point comeback for a win, and averages nine points a game.
Troy Christian, coached by Ray Zawadzki, is 5-2 and led by the towering presence of 6-9 senior James Anderson.
Anderson averages 17.4 points and leads the Buckeye Metro Conference with 11.0 rebounds per game.
Cameron Strine, a 6-1 senior, averages 7.0 points and 2.3 assists, while 5-10 sophomore Izaak Frantom leads the team with 2.7 assists per game.
In the nightcap on Thursday, Piqua and Lehman Catholic will meet.
Piqua, coached by Steve Grasso, is 2-4 and led by Ben Schmiesing, a 6-2 senior who averages 18.0 and 11.2 rebounds, the leading rebound total in the GWOC. Schmiesing is coming off a 35-point, 15-rebound effort against Greenville.
Quirri Tucker, a 5-10 junior, averages 13 points, while 5-10 senior Devon Brown averages 12.8 points and 5.2 rebounds.
Point guard Hayden Schrubb is a 6-2 senior who averages 5.5 rebounds and 3.7 assists.
Lehman Catholic, coached by Tim Gleason, is 2-4 and led by 6-4 senior Kameron Lee, who averages 15.2 points and 8.2 rebounds.
Preston Rodgers, a 5-11 senior, averages 9.0 points and 3.0 assists.
In an overtime win over Waynesfield-Goshen, 5-11 junior Elliott Gilardi scored 13 points and 6-1 junior Bryce Kennedy scored 12.
Conor O’Leary, a 6-4 junior and 5-10 sophomore Brendan O’Leary both had big plays in that game.
The varsity will then close out the tournament Friday, with the consolation game at 6 p.m. and the varsity at 7:30 p.m.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.