The third annual Ohio Valley Hoops Classic basketball tournament will be held in Highland County.
Event director Bennie Carroll said the tournament is moving to Southern State Community College’s Patriot Center in Hillsboro. The games will be played Dec. 2, 3 and 4.
Carroll, a teacher and girls varsity basketball coach at Blanchester High School, said that while Saturday will be the big day, there will likely be two games on Friday night, several games on Saturday, then two or three games on Sunday.
“The next step is trying to create matchups so they will be good games for the teams and good games for the fans to watch,” Carroll said.
He said Wednesday night that Upper Arlington, featuring shooting guard and Ohio State signee Dane Goodwin, had just officially agreed to be part of the tournament and that several of the details are still being worked out.
Held at Wilmington College its first two years, Carroll said the Ohio Valley Hoops Classic is excited about moving south.
“We’re still searching for our home and moving the site is just another way to build our fan base,” Carroll said. “Southern State seems extremely excited about it being on their campus. There will be a lot of potential students and parents on campus that otherwise wouldn’t be there.”
He also said that moving the tournament to Ohio’s Southeast District from the Southwest District might be more well received by fans.
“There’s not a lot of Division I teams in that direction and fans rarely get to see the caliber of teams and players we’ll be able to bring in there,” Carroll said.
Carroll said Lynchburg-Clay High School will be the host school, a requirement of the Ohio High School Athletic Association.
Returning teams include Wilmington, Blanchester, East Clinton, Lakota East, Mason, Chaminade-Julienne and Paint Valley.
The rest of the field includes Whiteoak, Paint Valley, Greenfield McClain, Fayetteville, Pickerington North, Hilliard Bradley, Upper Arlington, Hamilton Southeastern (Ind.), Louisville Fern Creek (Ky.), Cooper (Ky.), Cincinnati Oak Hills, Kentucky Country Day, Gamble Montessori, Centerburg and New Richmond.
Carroll said the talent level in the tournament, should all committed teams play, would be the overall best pool of talent in the three-year history of the event.
“Bennie tries to get teams that have some really star players,” said Sabina resident and longtime area radio personality Roger Barber, one of the people that helps Carroll run the tournament.
Carroll said the tournament will have four of the top 10 juniors, according to composite rankings, in Ohio next year. He said Hamilton Southeastern will have one of the top seniors in Indiana who has offers from Indiana, Purdue and other Big Ten schools, and Barber said Louisville Fern Park will have the best junior in the state of Kentucky.
As the host school, Barber said Lynchburg-Clay students will welcome the teams to the event, show them to their locker rooms, watch over the lock rooms while teams are on court, direct teams where to eat and have other similar duties.
While many of the details are still being worked out, Carroll said tickets will likely be sold on a one-day basis with some type of weekend pass that would be less expensive than buying a ticket each day. He said that in the coming months there will also be opportunities for local businesses to get involved through sponsorship.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or on Twitter @13gillilandj.