WILMINGTON — After a six-year stint at UNCW’s Trask Coliseum, the longest running local high school basketball tournament underwent a facelift moving into this season.
Now in its 23rd year, The Annual Leon Brogden Holiday Tournament is scheduled for two different locations the week before Christmas instead of its traditional spot during a three-day span between Christmas and New Year’s.
From Dec. 21-23, the four Wilmington high schools will hit the floor as the boys’ portion of the eight-team bracket will be held at New Hanover High School’s Brogden Hall. Girls’ games are set to be held at Ashley High School in Monkey Junction.
Stevenson Honda on South College Road will once again serve as title sponsor of the event after jumping on board last year. Lack of backing and declining ticket sales forced the Leon Brogden Tournament committee to work on new ways to keep the tradition alive. Stevenson Honda helped reenergize the tournament in 2015, but costs to rent the facilities at UNCW were just too high, which led to changes in venue.
The reasoning behind the calendar move had to do with the inaugural Joe Miller Phenom Hoops Invitational, which will be held Dec. 27-30 at Brodgen Hall. It will feature 16-teams from across the southeast US, including the New Hanover boys. Many of the other local teams have found holiday tournaments out of town to compete in during the Christmas break.
With New Hanover and Ashley hosting this year’s Brogden Tournament, once Laney and Hoggard High School’s get their new gymnasiums it’s expected they will rotate as hosts of the annual event in the future.
As for this week, play gets underway on Wednesday and continues through Friday night. In addition to the boys teams from New Hanover County, the eight-team bracket to be held at New Hanover High School will feature South Central (Winterville), Panther Creek (Cary), Strom Thurmond (Johnston, S.C.) and nearby Pender High School (Burgaw).
On the girls side, the four New Hanover County Schools will be joined by North Brunswick, Havelock, Conway (S.C.) and Strom Thurmond High School (S.C.). This year will mark the first season North Brunswick received an invite to the Brogden Tournament.
Games on Wednesday (Dec 21) and Thursday (Dec. 23) will be at 3 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at each location. On Friday, the boys times will remain the same, but the girls will play at 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.
Although there is a bracket, the tournament committee may adjust matchups on Thursday and Friday within the winner or loser’s bracket to avoid matchups between New Hanover County Schools.
Tournaments passes are $25 for adults and $15 for students. A daily pass costs $10 for adults and $7 for students. Tickets will be good for both locations. They will be on sale at each venue on the days of the tournament and available online at www.brogdentournament.com.
First-Round matchups (Dec. 21)
Boys bracket (at New Hanover High School)
- 3 p.m. South Central vs. Hoggard
- 4:30 p.m. Pender vs. Ashley
- 6 p.m. Panther Creek vs. Laney
- 7:30 p.m. Strom Thurmond vs. New Hanover
Girls bracket (at Ashley High School)
- 3 p.m. Strom Thurmond vs. Laney
- 4:30 p.m. Conway vs. Hoggard
- 6 p.m. North Brunswick vs. New Hanover
- 7:30 p.m. Havelock vs. Ashley