One of the premiere events held each year between Christmas and New Year’s returns to Trask Coliseum on the campus of UNCW Dec. 28-30 for the 22nd Annual Leon Brogden Holiday Tournament.
While there was some uncertainty about the event dating back to this summer on how the annual three-day basketball event would be carried out, the tournament committee has been working hard over the last few months to secure its future.
This year, Stevenson Automotive Group stepped to the plate to serve as presenting sponsor and local business on South College Road held a news conference late last week to release the boys and girls brackets for the 2015 tournament.
“We couldn’t be happier to support this great tournament and help carry on the tradition of this great event,” said Pat Koballa, General Manager of Stevenson Automotive Group. “I’ve had two children involved in high school athletics and understand the importance of keeping this tournament alive in the community.”
After securing funds to offset costs for outstanding debt, the Brogden Tournament committee expects to reach their goals to catapult the event into next year.
“The first thing we had to do was raise the necessary monies to pay the university what it was owed,” said George Rountree III, Tournament Committee chairman. “We were able to do that and started to build a foundation to stand on. We decided we needed several components to reach the necessary revenue set. We needed a key sponsor of $10,000. Additional sponsors have come aboard and our luncheon this year began to generate interest for the tournament. Now it’s about focusing on game day ticket sales.”
According to Rountree, if the tournament is able to secure the same amount of monies raised from last year’s ticket sales, the committee will reach its objective to put the tournament in good standing moving forward.
There will be a little wrinkle during the opening day of this year’s event as the UNCW men’s basketball team plays host to Campbell on Monday, Dec. 28. With the 8 p.m. tip-off scheduled for the Seahawks, four games will be played inside Trask Coliseum and four will be played in Hanover Hall on campus.
Game-times on day one are scheduled for 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. in both gymnasiums. The final two days of the event will feature six games in Trask Coliseum and two games in Hanover Hall beginning at noon.
Featuring the girls and boys basketball teams from the four New Hanover County High Schools (Ashley, Hoggard, Laney, New Hanover), the committee has brought in some high level of competition for the three-day tourney.
On the boys side, Former Laney High School assistant coach David Long will make his return to the Port City as Summerville Green Wave (South Carolina) come to town. Hoggard has a history with Summerville as the two programs squared off some time ago in North Myrtle Beach. Long currently serves as an assistant for the Green Wave.
T.C. Williams High School out of Alexandria, Virginia, will also make the trip down to the Tar Heel State. T.C. Williams is best-known from the film ‘Remember the Titans’.
The Spartans of Roger Bacon High School will have the longest journey of any team as the Roman Catholic school from Cincinnati, Ohio makes its first appearance at the Brogden Tournament.
Rounding out the list of boys teams to play in this year’s event, Cary High School will take the two hour drive eastbound on Interstate-40. The Imps fell to Hoggard in double-overtime in the second round of the 4A playoffs last season. Cary brings back a majority of its team from 2014, with impressive wins against 4A perennial powers Raleigh-Broughton and Garner on back-to-back nights this year. According to the latest Maxpreps power rankings, Cary is listed as the No. 1 team in the state.
The girls tournament includes all four New Hanover County High Schools, in addition to three teams from South Carolina. Socastee will make its second straight appearance at the holiday tournament along with West Florence and Conway.
Andrews High School from High Point, North Carolina completes the girl’s bracket. The Wildcats are off to a 4-1 start this season.
The tournament committee also decided this year to adjust potentials matchups in the winner’s and loser’s bracket to prevent matchups between teams within New Hanover County, if possible. They also decided to use power rankings from www.maxpreps.com to decide the initial games on day one of the tournament with the highest seeded team facing the lowest.
You can get complete access to the entire tournament for $25 or $15 for students with a valid ID. Daily passes are $10 for adults and $7 for students.
Monday, Dec. 28 schedule
11a.m. New Hanover vs. TW Andrews (girls)
12:30a.m. New Hanover vs. T.C. Williams (boys)
2 p.m. Hoggard vs. West Florence (girls)
3:30 p.m. Hoggard vs. Roger Bacon (boys)
11a.m. Laney vs. Cary (boys)
12:30 p.m. Laney vs. Socastee (girls)
2p.m. Ashley vs. Summerville (boys)
3:30 p.m. Ashley vs. Conway (girls)