The Mansfield Legacy boys basketball team will remain active over the Christmas break, participating in the MT Rice Tournament in Waco.
Coach Cornelius Mitchell said that he believes that the tournament will provide a good measuring stick for his team because of the level of competition his team will face.
“MT Rice is usually one of the biggest tournaments in the state,” Mitchell said. “It provides great competition as several of the teams competing will be district champs or playoff teams in their respective districts.
“We are looking forward to seeing how well we compete against these various teams. I think the teams that do well in the tournament will have great showings in their districts, which is what we are hoping for.”
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Mitchell said he decided to enter his team in the tournament because he felt that it would be good for his team to knock some of the rust off and that, really, tournaments are just plain fun.
“One of the most exciting parts of the Christmas break is holiday tournaments,” Mitchell said. “It’s a chance for good teams to play against each other while traveling to unique parts of the state. We are hoping the (MT Rice) will provide just that — a chance for us to play good teams from various parts of the state. It also allows our kids a chance to kind of get back in the groove after the UIL mandated five-day layoff period.
Mitchell said that the objectives for the Rice tournament are pretty straightforward.
“We are in a place in our program where competing is a priority,” Mitchell said. “Tournaments like the MT Rice require you to compete at a high level multiple times in a short period. It allows your team to face some adversity, learn how to play when you’re tired physically and mentally, and also forces you to move on as the next game can be literally hours away. Our expectations are to grow each game and use this experience as a final tune-up for district play.”
The Legacy coach said that he does believe the non-district schedule has done a good job of preparing his team for district competition.
“Our pre-season schedule has been really challenging and allowed our program a chance to be exposed and grow,” Mitchell said. “We will compete in arguably the toughest district in the state regardless of classification.
“The four teams that get into the playoffs will have been battle-tested and have gotten their team to play at a high level every night. Hopefully, playing some of the talented teams we have played early will also prepare us for the challenges of playing in District 10-5A.”