Holiday Classic tips off Tuesday

Monday, December 19, 2011

The top two seeds are a combined 11-2 entering the Show Me Center Holiday Classic girls basketball tournament, which gets under way Tuesday.

And neither of those teams is the defending champion.

Jackson earned the top seed and is coming off a victory over two-time defending tournament champion Notre Dame. The Indians (5-1) knocked off the Bulldogs 43-33 on Thursday.

"It should be a really good tournament, pretty evenly matched," Jackson coach Tyler Abernathy said. "We're looking forward to it. I can see multiple teams winning it."

Notre Dame, the No. 3 seed, also dropped a game earlier this season to the tournament's No. 2 seed -- Meadow Heights.

The Panthers, who are 6-1, will be coming off an eight-day break since their last game. But Meadow Heights coach Mark Vertichhio appreciated the chance to rest.

"We're 6-1 and we haven't played at home yet," he said after his team's win over St. Vincent last week. "What's amazing is 19 of our first 21 games are on the road."

Notre Dame enters at 3-3 but has won three of the last four tournament titles.

"It's always a good tournament," Notre Dame coach Renee Peters said. "The girls look forward to it. It's going to be a fun tournament, very evenly matched."

The Bulldogs defeated upset-minded Meadow Heights in last year's title game. That came after the Panthers, who were the No. 5 seed, knocked off top-seeded Farmington in the semifinals.

Farmington returns as the No. 5 seed and will face Central in the opening round at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday. That's after Jackson plays Saxony Lutheran at 4 p.m. in the opener.

Meadow Heights will face Perryville at 7 p.m., and Notre Dame and No. 6 seed Scott City will wrap up the first round at 8:30 p.m.

The semifinals are set for 7 and 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, with the title game at 8:30 p.m. Thursday.

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