Five years ago, Lowndes High head coach Rob Williams began hosting a relatively small Christmas tournament at his former high school, Bay High School in Panama City, Fla.
When he left it last season, the Bay Barnstorm Classic had become one of the largest tournaments in the Panhandle, if not the state. Williams wants to do the same at Lowndes.
The Vikings host the Randall Godfrey Lowndes High Viking Christmas Voyage beginning today at Charles Cooper Gymnasium, sponsored by the former Lowndes football standout now with the San Diego Chargers.
The eight-team tournament will play host to six out-of-state schools, including four from the Sunshine state and two from Alabama. Lowndes and Echols County are the two local teams in the tournament.
Williams hopes to turn the Viking Christmas Voyage into something similar to the Bay Barnstorm, a four-day tournament in Panama City.
Lowndes' tournament, which tips off today at 1 p.m., will be a three-day event ending Wednesday with the championship game.
There will also be a slam dunk and three-point competition Tuesday during the tournament from 6-7 p.m.
Viking Christmas Voyage tournament
When: Today through Wednesday
Where: Charles Cooper Gym
Greenville (Ala.) vs. Lee (Ala.), 4 p.m.
Celebration (Fla.) vs. Rutherford (Fla.), 5:30 p.m.
Ocala Shores (Fla.) vs. Echols, 7 p.m.
Lowndes vs. Suwannee, 8:30 p.m.
Player to watch: Terrance Vinson, 6-foot-8 power forward, averaging nearly 15 points and 15 rebounds per game.
Celebration (Fla.) High
Player to watch: In only its second year of basketball, the Storm are led by a trio of senior guards, Tariq Collins-El, Fedric Remy and Marcus Santiago.
Player to watch: Wildcats led by a host of seniors including Brandon West, Clarence Stacey and Morgan Lightsey.
Greenville (Ala.) High
Record: n/a (18-7 in 2003)
Player to watch: Devoski McMeans, selected to the Alabama All-Star team, averaged 17 points and five boards last season
Lee (Ala.) High
Player to watch: Jarred Stewart, Darian Stewart, Ricky Wilson and Jonathan Alexander
Ocala Shores Christian (Fla.) Academy
Player to watch: Terry McKenzie, Charles Eason, Darryl Limbaugh, Vaugh Brady, Josh Walker
Rutherford (Fla.) High
Player to watch: Sophomores Daidren Hill and DeAndrae Ross
Suwannee (Fla.) High
Player to watch: n/a
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