Although their schools are out for the holiday break several area high school teams will be in action.
|The Cubs and Lady Cubs basketball teams head southwest to play in the Neosho Holiday Tournament.|
"I like the Neosho Tournament, because you are usually guaranteed four games," said Monett Head Coach Ty Goetz. "We get to see some different competition."
For the coaches, the tournaments give them a chance to get a clear snapshot of their teams.
|"I have debated whether to have the Christmas break open or to just practice," said Goetz. "I figured playing actual games is about the best practice you can get. Playing at Neosho will help us see a lot of different styles of basketball. Playing four games in four days will better prepare us for the conference schedule."|
Playing so many games in a relatively short amount of time means a different approach toward game preparation.
"It is tough to prepare when you play games on four consecutive days," added Goetz. "We'll have a walk-through practice before we leave for the games. You have to just try and execute what you do better than the other team, since there isn't much time to adjust."
The Monett wrestling team will travel to Springfield to participate in the Kinloch Classic Holiday Tournament.
"The Springfield tournament is a good challenge for us," said Monett Wrestling Coach Daryl Bradley. "There are 24 teams in the competition from three different states. We are the smallest team in the tournament, and we usually fare pretty well."
With such a large tournament the wrestling Cubs will see plenty of action.
"This tournament can beat you physically as well as mentally," said Bradley. "It is definitely a marathon type of tournament. Each kid should get around 10 matches in two days. We will give the team a few days off before we start preparation for this tournament. We will come in for two-a-days on the Dec. 27 and Dec. 28. It's is a tough four days. We are excited about the competition. Our overall goal is to finish somewhere in the top 10."
The Verona Lady Wildcats opened the Walnut Grove Tournament with a win over Morrisville last Saturday. Verona prepares to face Chadwick on Monday.
"This is our second year in the tournament," said Verona Head Coach Ryan Yates. "We got in the Walnut Grove Holiday tournament, because it offers a lot small school competition. We get an opportunity to play or see teams that we could meet later in the state playoffs."
A good showing in this holiday tourney would mean a lot to the Lady Wildcats.
|"Winning is of course our main goal," added Yates. "But we also want to improve daily.||"We hope that by playing good competition we are able to further develop our strengths and uncover our weaknesses so that we are able to fix them. By the time districts get here, we want to be firing on all cylinders."|
The Pierce City Lady Eagles will be in the Neosho Holiday Tournament, while the Eagles head south to Washburn to play in the Southwest Holiday Tournament.
"We have been in the Neosho Classic for quite a few years," said Pierce City Lady Eagles Head Coach Chelsea Perry. "The competition is very steep. We will be challenged and see some of the toughest teams of our season in the tournament."
Preparation will be a key factor if the Lady Eagles are to have a productive tournament.
"We hope to have a game plan to put us in the best situation possible," said Perry. "We will prep our team as we would for any other game but with less time to prepare. We'll have walk-throughs in order to show the kids what to expect but hopefully we can prepare them in a way that they will be successful. "
When it comes to speculating on how Pierce City will fare, winning would be huge for the team.
"Due to the circumstances my kids have dealt with this past week," added Perry, "this tournament could unify our team and bring us closer together. We hope for our kids to play to the best of their ability and play in a way that Coach Weatherly would be proud."
The Eagles are looking to continue what has the potential to be a magical season. Pierce City won its own tournament earlier this season for the first time since 1972.
"This tournament will benefit our team in many ways," said Eagles Head Coach Matt Street. "It is full of good teams that will push us to be our very best each night. We prepare for a tournament just like we would any other game. We need to play our game and stay within ourselves." When we do these things, we feel like we can compete with anyone."
The Purdy Eagles travel to Southwest Holiday Tournament and the Lady Eagles play in the Pink and White Tournament in Springfield.
The Eagles like the fact that they are close to home.
"This tournament gives us a chance to stay close to home and get a number of games under our belt," said Purdy Coach Tommy Egan. "We will be seeing equal and at the same time tough competition. It's a good chance to find out where we are at as a team. Plus, we like the idea of being able to play over the holiday and not get out of synch.
|"Obviously, it will be ttough preparing for games, because there will not be any practice time to prepare since we play on consecutive nights," added Egan. "We will have to do a really good job of paying attention to what the other teams are doing throughout the tournament and trying to adjust on the fly during games. We are hoping that our depth keeps playing on consecutive nights a non-factor."|
The Lady Eagles will head to Springfield to play in the historically tough and prestigious Pink and White Tournament. Purdy has already played a tough schedule this season and will once again be challenged.
"Being able to play the top competition from the Central Ozarks Conference and other large schools will really help us become a better team," said Lady Eagles Head Coach Grant Young. "This season we have played, essentially a Class 5 schedule while only being a small Class 2 school with an enrollment of 212 students."
Purdy will not have much time to dwell on the size disparity of the schools they compete against.
"Four games over four days takes mental and physical toughness," added Young. "Our kids have been battle tested, already playing eight games in our first 15 days of this season (three in a row at Kickapoo Tournament). We'll be ready."
Editor's note: Check www.monett-times.com for holiday tournament score updates throughout next week's games.