Republic and Nixa grasped the No. 1 overall seeds for the 71st annual Greenwood Blue and Gold Basketball Tournament.
What for many families in and around Springfield is a holiday tradition begins Dec. 26 at JQH Arena and Hammons Student Center with a total of 16 games on the docket on the opening day. Both No. 1 seeds play at 11 a.m. on the first day of the tournament, with Republic playing Mt. Vernon in the Blue Division at Hammons Student Center, and Nixa playing Strafford in the Gold Division at JQH Arena.
Nixa is the No. 6-ranked Class 5 team in the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association poll, while Republic is No. 8. Five additional teams (Harville, Mansfield, Crane, Mountain Grove and Fair Grove) are state ranked.
Republic (4-1) will play in its 60th Blue and Gold and will attempt to win its sixth championship. Coach Trevyor Fisher coached the Tigers to a Gold Division championship in 2012.
“It’s quite an honor, obviously, to be a No. 1 seed in the Blue and Gold in such a historic tournament,” Fisher said.
The Blue and Gold sentimentality runs deep for Fisher. Once a water boy for his father, Mark Fisher, at Greenwood, Trevyor Fisher has attended every Blue and Gold Tournament since he was a youngster.
“I can remember ever since second grade, every year the day after Christmas coming to Hammons Student Center or JQH Arena, so to be a part of that as a coach and to have a team that hopefully can contend to make a run for a title is very special,” Fisher said.
Nixa has potential to tie Kickapoo’s record of 11 Blue and Gold championships. A loss to Bolivar in the 2015 Gold Division championship game ended Nixa’s streak of five consecutive tournament titles.
Nixa (4-0) coach Jay Osborne knows it’s not easy to win four games in four consecutive days.
“I think the tournament this year is really good. There’s eight to 10 to 12 teams that could possibly win the tournament,” Osborne said. “Being a No. 1 seed is always a special thing. It’s a special tournament and to be a No. 1 seed is a privilege, and our kids won’t take that for granted.”
The Blue and Gold seeding committee cuts the field in half and then selects eight of the 16 teams in each bracket to be seeded. Seeded teams’ opening round opponents are drawn at random from a hat. Osborne admitted he isn’t thrilled that the Eagles will play Strafford (3-2) in the opening round.
“It’s a horrible draw. We had a bad draw last year too, we had to play Rogersville in the first round and they’re pretty good. Same thing for Strafford, they’re well-disciplined, they’re well-coached and they’ve got good players,” Osborne said.
At the end of the opening round, all winner’s bracket games move to JQH Arena for the remaining three days of tournament play, and consolation games will be held at Hammons Student Center. Passes for all four days of the tournament may be purchased at the JQH Arena box offices. Adult passes are $30 and student passes are $20.
71st annual Greenwood Blue and Gold Basketball Tournament
Opening round games Dec. 26
All games at Hammons Student Center
9:30 a.m. (8)Marshfield vs. Crane
11 a.m. (1)Republic vs. Mt. Vernon
12:30 p.m. (5)Clever vs. Aurora
2 p.m. (4)Parkview vs. Willow Springs
5 p.m. (7)Mansfield vs. Spokane
6:30 p.m. (2)Glendale vs. Branson
8 p.m. (6)Springfield Catholic vs. Skyline
9:30 p.m. (3)Hartville vs. Ava
All games at JQH Arena
9:30 a.m. (8)Reeds Spring vs. Greenwood
11 a.m. (1)Nixa vs. Strafford
12:30 p.m. (5)Fair Grove vs. West Plains
2 p.m. (4)Ozark vs. Buffalo
5 p.m. (7)Lebanon vs. Willard
6:30 p.m. (2)Bolivar vs. Camdenton
8 p.m. (6)Rogersville vs. Stockton
9:30 p.m. (3)Mountain Grove vs. Hollister