VALDOSTA -- Basketball fans in Winnersville can watch something besides stockings get stuffed beginning today.

Lowndes High and Valdosta High will open the inaugural Winnersville Shootout this afternoon at the VHS gymnasium. Lowndes and Ware County play a doubleheader at 4 p.m., followed by a VHS-Cairo doubleheader.

Friday, the action shifts to Charles Cooper Gymnasium at Lowndes. Valdosta and Ware County meet at 4 p.m., followed by LHS and Cairo at 7 p.m.

"We were all looking for games, and a lot of teams don't neccesarily want to play just head-to-head," said Valdosta boys' basketball coach John Miller. "So we got everybody together and put this together."

The event is not a full-fledged tournament, and Miller isn't sure it will grow into one anytime soon. But Lowndes boys coach Cliff Ranew would like to see the event grow and attract more fans to a sport that often gets overshadowed locally.

"If we had the facilities, I'd love to see us have a big tip-off tournament," he said. "It would be great if we could get us, Valdosta and a couple of other local teams, and then get four teams out of the Atlanta area to come down. We need something like that here."

Seven of the eight teams involved in the Winnersville Shootout were state tournament participants last year, and Cairo's boys are ranked No. 3 in Class AAAA this week.



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