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Court Report

Boys basketball: Elyria Catholic to host prestigious tournament in January

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Elyria Catholic’s Coliseum will be the place to be for high school basketball in early January, when perennial powerhouses from Ohio and beyond will compete in the two-day Scholastic Play by Play Classic.

The tournament, set for Jan. 5-6, has been held at Baldwin Wallace University the last eight years. Two Lorain County programs, host Elyria Catholic and Lorain, will be in the field.

“This tournament is going to have some of the best high school basketball competition around,” Panthers coach Phil Kuchta said. “At Elyria Catholic we’ve always wanted to play the best competition, and hosting this tournament will not only get our kids a great game against a powerhouse program, but they will be able to see how a lot of the other programs go about their business first-hand.”

The Play by Play Classic has an extensive roster of notable alumni. NBA stars LeBron James, Dwight Howard, Kevin Durant and Jameer Nelson are just a few of the players who have participated in the tournaments held across the country.

“The prospect of bringing this event to Elyria Catholic has been very intriguing over the last few months,” Elyria Catholic athletic director Jack Duffy said in a news release. “Watching high school basketball at the Coliseum is a unique experience, each and every time.

“Matching our venue with these great games will create a state tournament-like atmosphere that should prove to be memorable for players, coaches and fans alike.”

The schedule is complete though subject to change and times, ticket prices and other information will be released at a later time.

Kennedy Catholic, out of Hermitage, Pa., and its blue chip center Oscar Tshiebwe, a University of Pittsburgh commit, is just one of the championship-caliber programs that will be competing at EC. They are scheduled to face Solon, Ohio’s Division I state runner-up, on Jan. 6.

Lorain, with Devone Grant and Eric Pierre-Louis, will square off with defending Division II state champion Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary. Cornerstone Christian, the Division IV runner-up last season, will face Shaker Heights on Jan. 5, while St. Edward, with its three-headed monster of Demetrius Terry, Montorie Foster and Devontae Blanton, will lock horns with Lake Catholic on Jan. 6.

The host Panthers will face Division I district finalist St. Ignatius on the second day of the tournament.

In other games, it will be Olmsted Falls vs. Brunswick and Revere vs. Richmond Heights on Jan. 5, and Lutheran East vs. Gilmour Academy, Garfield Heights vs. Brush and Buchtel vs. First Love (Washington, Pa.) on Jan. 6.

“I’m really excited,” Kuchta said. “The Coliseum is such a unique, old-school facility and everyone loves playing here. We host a district tournament here so this is a chance for some of the teams that could be playing for a district title to play on this floor.

“The staff and administration have always done such a great job of hosting events and they will make this tournament special.

“To bring a tournament with this great history to a place like the Coliseum, with its up-close seating and atmosphere, is going to give high school basketball fans an incredible experience.”

Contact Mike Perry at 329-7135 or macsportstalk@gmail.com.
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