published Thursday, December 26th, 2013

Times Free Press Best of Preps basketball tournament tips off today

With the goal of being crowned champions Saturday night, eight girls' teams and eight boys' teams begin play today in the 2013 version of the Times Free Press Best of Preps basketball tournament at Chattanooga State.

Action starts this morning at 10 and features four girls' games followed by four boys' game.

On Friday, starting with a girls' game at 10 a.m., girls' and boys' games will alternate throughout the day, culminating with semifinals. The same format goes for Saturday with fifth- and third-place games preceding the girls' final at 7 and the boys' final at 8:30.

Today's first game is GPS vs. East Hamilton. Brainerd is scheduled to take on Lookout Valley at 11:30 and Tyner faces Heritage at 1. Girls' action will wrap up with last year's champion Baylor playing Signal Mountain.

"It's a great tournament; a great atmosphere," Baylor girls' coach John Gibson said. "It's a chance to play in front of a big crowd, especially at night. You want to stay in the winners bracket."

Boys' games are scheduled to begin at 4 with Grace Academy playing Notre Dame. Last season's winner McCallie faces Tyner at 5:30.

"I thought last year after winning it and being shorthanded, it springboarded us to a decent year," McCallie coach Dan Wadley said. "It got us ready for region play, which is what I'm hoping for this year. We should have 12 kids there this year. They've been working hard and they're looking forward to it."

Baylor plays Boyd-Buchanan at 7. Play concludes with Ringgold taking on Ooltewah at 8:30.

Tickets are $8 per day. Children 5 and under will be admitted free.

Contact Kelley Smiddie at or 423-757-6653. Follow him on Twitter at

about Kelley Smiddie...

Kelley Smiddie is a sports writer who has worked at the Times Free Press for 12 years. He covers high school sports and softball. Kelley’s hometown is Chattanooga, and he graduated from Brainerd High School and graduated Chattanooga State and UTC. Contact Kelley at 423-757-6653 or

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