The area will play host to several holiday basketball tournaments over the next few days.
Blair County schools Altoona, Bishop Guilfoyle, Central, Tyrone and Williamsburg will be among the several holiday hosts with a handful of games tipping off tonight.
The Altoona Area High School Fieldhouse will be the site of the third annual Altoona Holiday Tournament with four games scheduled each for today and Friday. The Gateway and Pine-Richland girls will tip off the tourney at 2:30 p.m. today, followed by the Euclid, Ohio and Philadelphia West Catholic boys at 4 p.m., the Altoona and Abington girls at 6, and the Altoona and Pine-Richland boys at 7:30.
Both consolation and championship games are set for Friday. No matter which teams win the first day, the Altoona boys will play at 6 p.m. on Friday, and the Altoona girls will play at 7:30..
"We built good relationships with these teams coming from outside the area,'' Altoona athletic director Phil Riccio said. "We did a lot of networking. We are really looking at a bunch of top-notch teams coming in. And both [Altoona] teams are off to good starts, and it will be nice for them to continue playing at home over Christmas break.''
Tickets will be available at the door for $4 per day for adults and $2 for students.
The Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic High School gym will host the Jim Ellis Tournament for the 24th straight year. The tournament used to be known as the Chevy Shootout.
The tournament will feature three girls teams and four boys and spread over three days. The girls tournament had to reshuffle after St. Jean of Ontario, Canada, backed out at the last minute.
"The St. Jean girls made a commitment,'' 17-year tournament director Steve St. John said. "But they had finished their season, which had started in September. Some of the girls on the team made other commitments, and they told us they couldn't get enough girls to be competitive. We tried to find a replacement, but it's hard to find anyone with everyone playing a 22-game schedule.''
The BG girls open the tournament tonight against Bishop Walsh of Maryland at 7:30 p.m. On Friday, the Delone Catholic and Bishop Walsh girls play at 5:30, followed by the Bishop Guilfoyle boys against St. Jean at 7, and the Fairview boys facing Cathedral of Ontario at 8:30.
Saturday afternoon will feature the boys consolation and championship games with the Delone Catholic and BG girls facing each other in between those two games. St. John said tickets will be available at the door, and proceeds from the tourney will benefit the Jim Ellis Foundation.
"We're going to fine,'' St. John said. "We have three quality girls teams, and the boys tournament will be tremendously competitive.''
Tyrone will host the Reliance Bank Boys Basketball Tournament on Friday and Saturday with Claysburg-Kimmel and Penn Cambria tipping off at 6 p.m. Friday, followed by Bellwood-Antis and Tyrone. The consolation and championship games are Saturday evening.
Central is holding the MTS Holiday Girls Basketball Tournament on Friday and Saturday afternoon with Bellwood-Antis and Tyrone squaring off at 6 p.m. Friday, and Central Cambria facing Central at 7:30. The times for Saturday are noon and 1:30.
Williamsburg will host the Blue Pirate Booster Holiday Tournaments starting tonight due to it being postponed on Wednesday. The Central and Conemaugh Valley boys meet at 6 p.m. tonight, followed by the Williamsburg and Philipsburg-Osecola boys. On Friday, the boys consolation and championship will follow two first-round girls games featuring Glendale against Philipsburg-Osceola and Moshannon Valley facing Williamsburg. The girls consolation and final will be Saturday.
Other tournaments in the area include sites at Central Cambria High School, Cambria Heights High School, Juniata College and Everett Area High School.
The County Seat Boys Basketball Tournament at Central Cambria in Ebensburg was postponed Wednesday and will begin today at 6 p.m. with Bishop Carroll facing Blairsville, followed by Central Cambria hosting Penns Manor at 7:30. The consolation and championship games are set for Saturday afternoon.
The first round of the Cambria Heights boys tourney was postponed Wednesday and will now open tonight with Glendale playing Northern Cambria at 6 and Cambria Heights hosting Moshannon Valley at 8. On Friday, the Carroll and Harmony girls play at 6 with the Heights and Northern Cambria girls following at 8. The boys consolation and championship game are set for Saturday afternoon, and the girls consolation and championship games are scheduled for Saturday night.
Juniata College will host eight games today after the Huntingdon Lions Tournament was postponed on Wednesday. The Juniata Valley and Mount Union girls play at 10 a.m., followed by the Huntingdon and Southern Huntingdon girls at 11:30 a.m., the Southern Huntingdon and Juniata Valley boys at 1 p.m., the Huntingdon and Forbes Road boys at 2:30, the girls consolation at 4, the boys consolation at 5:30, the girls final at 7 and the boys final at 8:30.
"It actually reminds me of when we go play summer league games," Huntingdon coach Nick Payne said. "They schedule you to play two games a day so you don't have to travel.
"With the big court, it's going to be interesting. We're going to have to be in condition. That's going to be for all the teams."
The Everett tournament will spread over three days. The West Branch and Bedford boys square off tonight at 6 with the Everett and Boonsboro, Md., boys to follow. On Friday, the boys consolation game will be at 5 p.m, the Boonsboro and Northern Bedford girls play at 6:30, and the Bedford and Everett girls face each other at 8. On Saturday, the girls consolation is at 5, followed by the girls final and the boys final.