Get your popcorn ready for loaded Beach Ball Classic

Mario-Chalmers-GSSRHow good are the teams and talent in the field of the 34th Annual Beach Ball Classic?

Well, nationally ranked Bishop Gorman (NV) boasts 6-foot-11 Duke commit Chase Jeter, and he’s not even the tallest or the most highly recruited player on the team. That distinction belongs to 7-footer Stephen Zimmerman, who should attract some big-name college coaches to sit courtside in hopes of courting his services.

The Gaels, the 2008 Beach Ball Classic champion, are considered the pre-tournament favorites amid a field full of contenders from all over the US when one of the nation’s top and oldest high school hoops invitationals tips off six days of action on Friday. Single-day tickets and week-long passes are available at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center box office.

Reigning SCISA Class A champion Christian Academy of Myrtle Beach gets things started with a 1:45 p.m. exhibition against Carvers Bay. The first official game is Northland (OH) vs. Hough (NC) at 3:30, followed by East Carteret (NC) vs. Spring Valley at 5:15, Franklin (OH) vs. Mullins at 7, and 2066 Beach Ball champion St. Edward (OH) vs. tournament co-host Myrtle Beach at 8:45.

On Saturday, a pair of losers’ bracket games tip off at noon and 1:45 before first-round action continues with St. Francis (GA) vs. Sagemont (FL) at 3:30, North Little Rock (AR) vs. Knott County Central (KY) at 5:15, Shadow Mountain (AZ) vs. Scott County (KY) at 7, and Bishop Gorman (NV) vs. co-host Socastee at 8:45.

Sunday sees a pair of exhibition games – Gray Academy vs. Laurence Manning Academy at 3, and Cape Fear Academy (NC) vs. Christian Academy at 5 – followed by the popular Slam Dunk and 3-point shooting contest at 7 p.m. Tourney play continues Monday and Tuesday leading up to Wednesday’s bracket championship games, capped by the overall championship at 7:30 on New Year’s Eve.

Photo by Michael Graves, Digital Magic Photo

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