Local hoops start tournaments with win

COVINGTON -- The Alcovy and Rockdale girls basketball teams paved the road for the rest of the local basketball squads as they started the basketball classics with their participation in the Peach State Invitational on Tuesday while the rest of the teams start today.

The Rockdale girls started the tournament with a 66-56 win against Seneca (S.C.) in the Silver Division while Alcovy beat Duluth 56-41 in the White Division.

As a result of their wins, Rockdale will play Apalachee game at 4:30 p.m. today. Alcovy will play Greater Atlanta Christian or Olympia (Fla.) at 3 p.m.

Newton will travel east of Athens as the participate in the Winslingers Holiday Bash at East Jackson.

The girls will begin the doubleheader as 12:30 p.m. against Berkmar. If they win, they will play again at 12:30 Thursday against the winner of the Hebron Christian/Banks County game. A loss would mean a 9:30 a.m. game.

Newton's boys begin the tournament against Stephens County at 2 p.m. A win would mean another 2 p.m. tip-off while a loss will have them playing at 9:30 a.m. Their opponent in the second round will be either Banks County or Hebron Christian.

"They were in that same region with Eastside and they're full of athletes. They're not some little private school. We don't know what they do so we're just going to show up and play them," said Newton boys head coach Rick Rasmussen about his first-round opponent.

"Having won it last year, we would like to be successful once again. The biggest thing is trying to keep that momentum and not turn the ball over."

The Alcovy boys will begin their play in the Deep South Classic at Brookwood against Collins Hill at 6 p.m. They will play the winner/loser of the Providence Christian and Flowery Branch game Thursday. The championship bracket game starts at 4:30 p.m. with the consolation bracket starting at 6 p.m.

The majority of the squads, Eastside and Heritage boys and girls, will be in the neighboring county playing the Walnut Grove Christmas Tournament.

In the boys bracket at Walnut Grove, Eastside will start against North Oconee at 11 a.m. If Eastside wins, it will play at 3:30 p.m. against the winner of Monroe/George Walton Academy game. Otherwise, it will play the loser of the same game at 9:30 a.m.

Heritage, which starts at 2 p.m. against Winder Barrow, will play either Ola or Walnut Grove. The winning teams play at 6:30 p.m. with the losing teams tipping off at 12:30 p.m.

The girls will play a mirror image of the boys bracket. The Eastside girls start their tournament at 9:30 a.m. with the winners' game starting at 5 p.m. and the losers' game at 11 a.m.

The Heritage girls will begin their bid for a tournament championship at 12:30 p.m. If they win, they will continue their bid at 8 p.m. with the consolation bracket starting at 2 p.m.

While there is nothing at stake in these tournament games, it is still very important that they win.

"Anytime you're in a tournament, especially one with eight teams, it's like our region tournament, so it's practice for region tournament play," Rasmussen said. "We hope to get better. We feel like we're turning the corner a little bit. We've won three straight and we would like to build momentum heading into the second half of the year."