Pairings for FSNB Christmas Classic include Pardue & Riley
By Jim Turner

Posted on December 14, 2014 11:20 PM

When one of the most popular sporting events of each school year is staged in a couple of weeks, fans can choose between interstate and intrastate battles.

The First Southern National Bank Christmas Classic 2014 will be played in four gymnasiums on the campuses of Russellville and Logan County high schools.

All eight teams in the girls division are from Kentucky. In the boys division, four teams from Kentucky will tip off against four from Tennessee.

The tournament has changed its format in the decade of so that it’s been played since it was begun by FSNB, Roy’s Bar-B-Q and WRUS. Not only was a girls tournament added, but the event has been changed from three days to two, even though 16 teams are involved.

This was made possible by a second gymnasium being constructed at both schools. The auxiliary gym at LCHS was necessitated by the continuing excellence of the volleyball team. The second gym at RHS was added when the middle school moved from downtown to the southeast side of the high school building.

Also much different is that each team will be in action twice the first day. They will play an opening round daytime game on Monday, Dec. 29. Then that night they will play a second game, either in the winners’ or losers’ bracket. Championship, third place, fifth place and seventh place games will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 30.

In the opening games, Russellville and Logan County teams are scheduled to be hosts in their gyms. Tournament Manager Holli Brown will determine where second and third round games will be played, largely depending on how the host teams fare.

In the girls bracket, Coach Finley Baird Woodard’s Logan County Lady Cougars will play Owensboro Senior in the main gym at LCHS at 10:30 a.m. The other two teams in their bracket, John Hardin and Livingston Central, will open action in the auxiliary gym at 10.

If the Lady Cougars win, they will play at 6:30 p.m. If they lose, their game will be at 6:15. All of this is on their home floor.

At RHS, Central Hardin and North Laurel will face off at 10 a.m. in the middle school gym. At 10: 30, Coach Calvin Head’s Lady Panthers will go against Crittenden County at 10:30 in Jim Young Gymnasium. A win sends them into a 6:30 game while a loss has them playing at 6:15 that night.

The girls championship game will be played on Tuesday at 6 p.m. at RHS.

In addition to legendary Panther coach Phil Todd and rapidly rising Cougar coach Lonnie Mason, two of the coaches in the boys category are not only well-known here, but they also have been highly successful.

Dennis Pardue, who coached the Panthers eight seasons, will bring his new Clarksville Kenwood team to the tournament which he previously won repeatedly. Kenwood is in the same bracket as RHS, but plays North Bullitt first at 11:30 a.m. Monday in the Russellville Junior High Gym.

Todd’s Panthers will take on Centennial High School of Franklin, Tenn. at noon in the main gym. A win would send them to at 8 p.m. winners’ bracket that night. The losers’ bracket game will be at 7:45.

The other well-known coach is Tim Riley, who led Warren Central to a state championship, a state runner-up finish, and a state finalist trophy. Considering the domination of Phil Todd at RHS and Tim Riley at Central, the other 14 schools in the region had little chance of advancing to state for a number of years.

Riley, who retired from Central and then coached at WKU, is in his second year as the Springfield coach. His team and Pardue’s are in the same Tennessee district. They’ve already played once this year. Riley’s team led most of the game but Pardue and his team came back to win. They will have to match either other in wins or losses to meet in this tournament.

Riley will coach against one of his old district rivals in Springfield’s opener by facing Greenwood at 11:30 a.m. Monday at LCHS. Then the Cougars will entertain Dyersburg at noon on their home court. One of Logan’s biggest wins in this tournament came over a great Dyer County team in 2006.

The winners will play at 8 p.m. Monday. Losers will tip off at 7:45. Both games are at Logan

More information will follow before the post-Christmas tournament begins.


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