A break from the routine

Second Winterfest Shootout offers quality basketball for the holidays
Dec. 20, 2012 @ 12:16 AM

Weary from shopping? No movie or TV rerun you find interesting? There is some great and inexpensive entertainment in this community, a chance to see quality high school basketball played by student athletes from three states.

For the second year in a row, Sevier County High School will host teams for the Winterfest Shootout. The event, which was started last season by SCHS coaches Ken Wright and Stacy Marine, features three days of tournament basketball, with a championship round Saturday night.

Wright correctly called it a quality tournament. “There’s going to be no easy games in there for anybody. It’s going to be great matchups. If you like basketball, this is the tournament to come see because of the quality of teams we have in this thing.”

The tournament will feature eight-team boys and girls brackets with games today, Friday and Saturday.

“Whoever wins this championship is going to have to earn it,” Wright said. “If you roll through the bracket undefeated in this tournament, you’re a good basketball team. Last year’s winner went on back to Georgia and they ended up being in the Elite 8 down in Georgia, and I think it’s going to be the same way this year.”

There are teams from Georgia, Kentucky and Alabama, as well as Sevier County and Murfreesboro. The tournament is able to attract such diverse and far-away teams because, well, what teenager wouldn’t enjoy a three-day visit to the tourist capital of the South? Dollywood, the aquarium, the Smokies, theaters — attractions too numerous for any team to experience in full. Plus a chance to compete against quality teams that otherwise wouldn’t appear on your schedule. It’s  a recipe for success.

That recipe just needs one more ingredient: you. Take in some of the games, which will be held at the high school and middle school, See the brackets printed in Tuesday’s paper. This tournament will have a significant economic impact on this area at a time when tourism slows down. Supporting the tournament shows you care about that as well as good basketball.

Many thanks to all who put together and stage this shootout. And to our visitors: Welcome to Sevier County.