TIFTON, GA (WALB) - Christmas week is always an entertaining one on the sports front, especially in high school basketball. Tournaments pit some of the state's best against one another, and Tift County gets in the tournament spirit beginning Thursday.
The Blue Devils host the 7th edition of the McDonald's Invitational this weekend, and this year's will have even more south Georgia flavor.
The Devils will still welcome some of the state's top teams to Tifton, including state powers Milton, McEachern and Morgan County. But they'll also be keeping some south Georgia premier programs in the area.
Monroe and Westover are back in the field for the first time in a few years. Bainbridge, Valdosta, and Colquitt County will also compete.
Tift County head coach Dr. Eric Holland says playing in this tournament is about getting to know potential state playoff opponents.
"This will give us the chance to compete against those schools in the north. The only way we're going to beat them is by playing them," he says. "Let's figure out what they're doing so if we see them tournament time, we have some film on them and we can better attack them. Hopefully, it'll lead to another state championship here in the south."
Holland thinks the teams invited to this year's tournament guarantees an exciting weekend of hoops.
"We're fast on offense, and furious on defense. We want to get at folks, and we invited teams that share that same philosophy," Holland says. "We want folks to watch what we call beautiful basketball. It's going to be high-level, high-major basketball, and we're excited about it."
Everything gets started Thursday morning, and runs through Saturday afternoon.
Thursday, December 22
11:30 a.m.- Hawkinsville vs. Brunswick (Girls)
1:00 p.m.- Pelham vs. Tift Co. (Girls)
2:30 p.m.- Bainbridge vs. Brunswick
4:00 p.m.- Valdosta vs. Duluth
5:30 p.m.- McEachern vs. Monroe
7:00 p.m.- Tucker vs. Colquitt Co.
8:30 p.m.- Milton vs. Tift Co.
Friday, December 23
10:00 a.m.- Hawkinsville vs. Pelham (Girls)
11:30 a.m.- Brunswick vs. Tift Co. (Girls)
1:00 p.m.- Brunswick vs. Monroe
2:30 p.m.- Colquiitt Co. vs. McEachern
4:00 p.m.- Tucker vs. Milton
5:30 p.m.- Valdosta vs. Bainbridge
7:00 p.m.- Morgan Co. vs. Westover
8:30 p.m.- Duluth vs. Tift Co.
Saturday, December 24
2:00 p.m.- Bainbridge vs. Morgan Co.
3:30 p.m.- Colquitt Co. vs. Duluth
5:00 p.m.- Westover vs. Tift Co.