Defending champions Richwood (boys) and Mansfield (girls) highlight the 12th Annual “Doc” Edwards Invitational which tips Friday with 11 games at Airline, Benton and Bossier Parish Community College.
Richwood was able to get past North Webster 61-58 in the 2013 title game, while the Lady Wolverines edged Airline 57-56 in overtime for the girls’ crown.
Richwood is just 7-7 on the year but the Rams have won six of their last eight contests coming in. But surviving the juggernaut of teams on the boys’ side will be no easy task.
“It’s a wide-open field with a lot of really talented players and teams,” Airline coach Chris White said. “The boys’ side is loaded.”
The annual event, launched in 2003, is sponsored by Willis-Knighton Health System and is named in honor of longtime Bossier City orthopedic surgeon and Airline team physician Dr. Tommy Edwards. Games will be played on Friday and Saturday, then skip to Monday and Tuesday. The girls’ title game will be at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the CenturyLink Center followed by the boys’ championship at 8 p.m.
Admission to the games the first three days is $7 per session, while games at the CenturyLink will be $8 per session or $14 for the entire day.
After being unable to use the Bossier City facility for the finals last year due to the AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl, White is glad to have the title tilts there again.
“We think it sets us apart from other tournaments and it gives the kids a chance to play in a big-time arena, like some of them will at the Top 28,” White said.
Mansfield, behind tournament MVP Ashlyn Jacobs, won last weekend’s Minden Holiday Classic and should be a favorite to win the girls’ side.
“We feel like winning the Minden tournament should give us some excellent momentum going into the ‘Doc’ Edwards,” Mansfield coach Kendra Neal said.
Southwood and Green Oaks get the boys rolling with a 4 p.m. Friday game at Airline, while the Huntington-Plain Dealing girls (BPCC) and Mansfield-Captain Shreve girls (Benton) go at the same time at those respective gyms.
The 15-team boys’ field includes all of District 1-5A with the exception of Haughton while either Airline, Southwood, Captain Shreve, Byrd or Parkway have enough talent to make a run to the title game. North Webster and Green Oaks both looked impressive last week in Minden.
The 12-team girls’ bracket features some talented players including Kei McCoy (Airline), Caitlin Jenkins (Huntington), Ronesha Murff (Byrd), Necka Wynn (Bossier), Kimberly Burton (Red River), Y’Tavia Whaley (Southwood), Teaunna Perry (Plain Dealing) and Brandy Harris (Benton).
On the boy’s side standouts include Jonathon Bell (Green Oaks), Larry Robinson (Bossier), Toronco Loston (Shreve), Williams Givens (Benton), J.T. Young (Mansfield), Willie Lee (North Webster), Aaron Roberson (Huntington), Marquez Stevenson (Northwood) and Chad Lott (Byrd).
Consolation finals are slated for noon (girls) and 1:30 p.m. (boys) Tuesday at the CenturyLink.