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Downtown Dothan Hoops Classic brackets set with Dothan taking on Eufaula in first round

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Eufaula, champions of the last three Downtown Dothan Hoops Classic basketball tournaments, will have to go through perhaps its toughest obstacle in Game 1 this year.

The defending champion Tigers will match up against the Dothan High Wolves in the opening round on what will be the second night of the 16-team, single-elimination boys basketball tournament traditionally held at the Dothan Civic Center.

A year ago, Eufaula beat Dothan 74-42 in a surprising rout to take the title. Eufaula also won the Hoops Classic in 2016, 2018 and 2019 prior to last year. There was no tournament in 2020 because of COVID-19. The Tigers finished as tournament runner-up in 2017.

The first four games will be held on Monday, Dec. 26, with Eufaula taking on Dothan on the second night of opening round action on Dec. 27.

“Obviously the Dothan-Eufaula matchup in the first round … in any other year it could be a final,” tournament director Tyson Carter of Dothan Department of Leisure Services said. “That’s incredible.”

A draw to fill the brackets was televised by WTVY during the Live at Lunch segment on Monday.

The first game on Dec. 26 will pit Wicksburg against Carroll beginning at 3:30 p.m., followed by Rehobeth vs. Abbeville, Providence Christian taking on Geneva and Houston Academy facing Dale County in the finale of the night.

Carroll earned its way into the tournament by winning the eight-team Turkey Classic at the Dothan Civic Center in November. It was the second year that tournament had been held as a way for a team to earn the final spot in the Hoops Classic.

“What a great tournament that was,” Carter said of the Turkey Classic. “Carroll and Greenville played in the championship game and Carroll came out the victor, so they punched their ticket to the Hoops Classic. We’re glad to have them back in the field.”

Houston Academy playing against Dale County in the final game of the opening night is an opening round rematch from last year’s tournament. The Raiders won on that night, 63-35, after outscoring the Warriors 19-4 in the third quarter to break open a competitive game and coast to the victory.

The second day of the tourney opens with Daleville against Geneva County at 3:30 p.m., followed by Headland against Georgiana, the Dothan-Eufaula matchup and then Ashford taking on Northside Methodist Academy in the final game of the night.

Carter was asked about some things that stick out most to him concerning the bracket draw in addition to the Eufaula and Dothan matchup.

“The irony of Houston Academy and Dale County getting drawn in the first round again,” Carter said. “Last year our good friends to the north of us Headland and Abbeville drew each other in the first round. I’m glad we avoided that this year.”

A 15-year tournament record $62,624 was raised last year in the tournament through sponsorships, ticket sales and concession revenues minus expenses to go back to the schools selected to compete in the boys basketball tournament held annually.

The four teams making it to the semifinal and championship/consolation round – tourney champion Eufaula, runner-up Dothan, Headland and Geneva County – each pocketed $7,828.

Four teams making it to the quarterfinals before they were eliminated – Ashford, Houston Academy, Providence Christian and Wicksburg – each made $3,914.

The eight eliminated in the first round – Abbeville, Barbour County, Dale County, Daleville, Geneva, Georgiana, Northside Methodist Academy and Rehobeth – took home $1,957.

“Excited about the tradition that this tournament brings,” Carter said. “It’s really the thing that you do in Dothan after Christmas each year now. We’re super excited.”

Jon Johnson is sports editor of the Dothan Eagle and can be reached at jjohnson@dothaneagle.com or 334.712.7965. Support his work and that of other Eagle journalists by purchasing a digital subscription today at dothaneagle.com. Follow Jon Johnson on Twitter @eaglesportsed

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