Defending boys tournament champion Sunrise Christian Academy has signed on to return to the 58th annual Neosho Holiday Classic, while back-to-back girls champs, the Bentonville, returns to highlight the girls tournament.
A total of 14 boys teams and 12 girls are set to converge on Neosho for games that run Wednesday, Dec. 26, through Saturday, Dec. 29 at Neosho High School and Neosho Middle School. As usual, the boys will play at NHS while the girls’ tournament will be held at NMS.
In a bit of a change from past tournaments, the girls tourney is pool play that will feature not one, but two champions. With six teams comprised in two divisions (black and gold), each division will feature its own champion. The boys tournament, meanwhile, will remain status quo with a bracketed tournament this year.
Rounding out the boys’ field this season is Bentonville (Ark.), Carthage, Kansas City Ruskin, McDonald County, Memphis (Tenn.) Sheffield, Morrilton (Ark.), Neosho, Pierce City, Saint Joseph Lafayette, Saint Louis Christian Academy, Van Buren (Ark.), Webb City and West Memphis (Ark.).
The girls field is comprised of the aforementioned Bentonville, Carthage, East Newton, Forrest City (Ark.), McDonald County, Neosho, Pierce City, Purdy, Seneca, Springdale (Ark.), Van Buren (Ark.) and Webb City.
Last season, two of the top recruits in the country — University of Kentucky commits Andrew and Aaron Harrison — participated in the Classic. Throughout the years the event has hosted many top Division-I athletes and professionals such as NBA standouts Alec Burks, Hasheem Thabeet and Jeremy Tyler, WNBA star Shekinna Stricklen and NFL players Josh Freeman and Zack Pianalto.
Fans can see plenty of top talent again this year as the field is again stacked with local talent and a number of prized national recruits, as well. The special events at the tournament, always a fan favorite, will comprise of a 3-point shootout and slam dunk contest after the final game of the evening on Friday, Dec. 28.
On Saturday, Dec. 29, La-Z-Boy will be donating furniture for fans in a VIP seating contest. The winners of the contest, who will be seated in the furniture, will enjoy free drinks and snacks while watching the championship games courtside. Fans can purchase tickets for $1 each for the event, with the winning ticket being drawn at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 29. The winner will then take the sofa home after the game.
A session pass for the tournament, which runs in an a.m. or p.m. session, costs $5. All-day passes for the event are $8 while an all-tournament pass, good for all games throughout the tournament, is $25. Children five and under are free of admission.