Colorado’s Premiere Small School Basketball Tournament Marks 50 Years

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The holidays bring letters to Santa Claus, last minute shopping, and lots of basketball in Southeast Colorado.  In 2013, the Lamar Holiday Basketball Tournament will tip off for the 50th time.  The tournament features eight schools, either 1A or 2A classification, with both a boys’ and girls’ bracket.  Beginning December 19th, the Lamar Community Building will be host to twenty-four games over three days.

Gary Peyton and several other members of the Lamar Chamber of Commerce founded the tournament in 1964,  One goal was to create holiday shopping traffic in Lamar, but Peyton will be the first to tell you that it was about so much more.  Peyton said, “It was all about the kids.  We had so many great teams in our area.  We wanted to create a first-class tournament that felt like a state tournament.  So many teams in our area deserved to be in the state tournament, but never made it.  The tournament gave them that feeling.”

Throughout the years, the Lamar Holiday Basketball Tournament has had its fair share of great contests with buzzer beaters and multiple overtime games.  Championship Saturday is known for its close games and electric atmosphere.  One local head coach said, “The tournament gives you an opportunity to compete in a state tournament-like atmosphere.  That championship night atmosphere is like none other.  The place is packed.  It’s loud.  It’s hot.  My players can’t hear me yelling.  I can’t hear them yelling at me.  It’s a great experience for them to know what it is going to be like at the next level.”

This tournament is considered an early predictor of schools that will represent Southeast Colorado in the CHSAA State Basketball Championships.  The 2012 Lamar Holiday Basketball champions – Wiley Girls and McClave Boys – went on to win the 2013 State 1A titles.  The Granada and Holly boys and Eads girls also made the state tournament after participating in last year’s tournament.  Another participating head coach said, “Year in and year out some of the best small school basketball is played in this part of the state. For many years the state tournament has had teams from this tournament in the field.”

The following is a list of high schools that participate in the tournament: Eads, Granada, Holly, Kit Carson, McClave, Springfield, Walsh, and Wiley.

Tournament Schedule:

Thursday, December 19

    • Girls’ First Round – 9:00 am
    • Boy’s First Round – 4:00 pm

Friday, December 20

    • Consolation Semifinals – 9:00 am
    • Championship Semifinals – 4:00 pm

Saturday, December 21

    • 7th Place/Consolation Championships – 9:00am
    • 3rd Place/Championships – 4:00 pm

Filed Under: communityEventsFeaturedGranadaHollyLamarProwers CountySchoolSportsWileyYouth


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