For just a few winning boys basketball teams, the holiday schedule will bring back the early-season feeling of taking a tournament championship.
Besides that, Keller and Northwest ISD squads are anxious for the opportunity to travel as a team to build chemistry, add playing time and find out what sort of toll all the holiday splurges may have had on conditioning and execution.
Boys teams have just started district contests, so these tournaments could be seen as a needed break or a hindrance to the flow of their season.
Regardless, the holidays fall where they fall each year and teams make the best of it.
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For some teams, the travel is inconsequential. Fossil Ridge is at the Fort Worth ISD Classic at Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center. They’ll start on Thursday against Dallas Bryan Adams at 2 p.m. The Panthers are paired in the same bracket with the likes of Lewisville and Dunbar.
“With five mandatory days off (as per the UIL) and then district games coming shortly after the new year, you need something to get back into the swing of things,” said Ridge head coach Zack Myers.
Myers alluded to some of the holiday tournament play as being less challenging than the district competition will be.
Trophy Club Nelson is hosting the Byron Nelson Christmas Classic and will take on Lake Dallas at 2 p.m. on Tuesday.
Keller matches up with Mansfield Summit in the Aledo Moritz Dealerships Holiday Tournament on Tuesday. The two-day tournament also has Justin Northwest paired with Mansfield in the same half of the bracket with Keller.
A head-to-head of the Indians and Texans wouldn’t occur until the semifinals round, though, should both teams win their first two games.
Timber Creek is also at Aledo, on the opposite side of the brackets, and will face Arlington Sam Houston in the first round.
The Falcons started off with a win over Keller Central, 60-39, in their district opener. They are back to district action on Jan. 3, hosting Weatherford.
Meanwhile, Keller Central will be logging more miles than most. The Chargers will play in the Pasadena Under Armor Eric Medina Memorial Tournament.
They’ll open with Humble on Thursday. When they return to town, they’ll be on the road again to lock up in district play at Abilene.
Haslet Eaton will travel to the Bridgeport Holiday Tournament.
The Eagles have Lake Worth to open the tournament on Thursday at 9 a.m. and then take on Birdville at noon.
They won’t resume district play until Jan. 6 when they travel to Azle.
The Eagles lost their district opener to Saginaw Chisholm Trail.
While Eaton’s overall record is less than .500, they’ve loaded up on 6A teams in the early part of the year.
The holiday tournament is almost a necessity for all teams to knock off rust and return conditioning to game level.
For teams such as Eaton, head coach Anthony Howerton said the games are like another practice opportunity for his young, learning team.
“We have improved from Day 1 and we still have a long way to go,” Howerton said. “We will get there. Their basketball IQ and skills are really improving with every game and practice. I am pleased with their progress, especially understanding how hard you must practice and play.
“They are a great bunch of young men to get to teach and coach,” Howerton said.