Beach Ball Classic attracts top talent from near and far

The 31st annual Beach Ball Classic will feature more familiar faces than usual, including those coming to the Myrtle Beach Convention Center from nearby and far away.

2011 Beach Ball semifinalists Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) and Whitney Young (Chicago) will return to the Dec. 26-31 holiday hoops tournament, and first-time participant St. James will join Socastee and Myrtle Beach in the 16-team lineup. Christian Academy of Myrtle Beach also will play an exhibition game for the second year.

Both Whitney Young and Bishop Gorman return looking to take the coveted title this season, and they have some of the top players in the tournament, including Young’s 6-foot-11 junior Jahlil Okafor and Gorman’s 6-11 sophomore Stephen Zimmerman. Another top team and player is sophomore guard Luke Kennard of Franklin (Ohio).

Other participants include Bishop O’Connell (VA), Christ Presbyterian (TN), East Rutherford (NC), Hudson Catholic (NJ), Orem (UT) Rufus King (WI), Scott County (KY), Spring Valley (SC), St. Rita (IL) and Wheeler (GA).

The field also has been announced for the Dec. 18-22 Holiday Invitational girls basketball tournament, also featuring some of the top teams in the nation. Myrtle Beach, Socastee, C.E. Murray, Crestwood, Dreher and Heathwood Hall are among the Palmetto State teams in the tourney.

Out-of-state participants include Archbishop Carroll (PA), Atlantic (FL), Center Point (AL), Christ Presbyterian Academy (TN), Edgewater (FL), Kings Fork (VA), Miami (FL), Our Lady of Mercy (NJ), Penfield (NY), Perry County Central (KY) and Potterhouse (Fla.).

The highlight of the two-week hoopsfest, at least according to level of play, sees women’s basketball tripleheader on Dec. 19 – North Forida vs. Coastal Carolina, East Carolina vs. North Carolina and Clemson vs. Providence. Tiocket information on all three events are available at www.beachballclassic.com.

Photo by Digital Magic Photo

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