WC hosts big basketball tournament on Monday

Published 4:00 pm Friday, November 16, 2018

Warren Central boys basketball coach Bruce Robinson would love it if fans came out to watch his team play on Monday night.

He’d like it a lot more if they came out to watch someone else and stayed around to watch his team.

Eighteen teams will descend upon Warren Central’s gym on Monday for the second River City Challenge. The nine-game lineup begins at 9:30 a.m. with Winston Academy vs. Riverside and concludes at approximately 7:30 p.m. with Warren Central vs. Crystal Springs.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

In between, some of the state’s best teams and players will be in action at a tournament Robinson believes is quickly growing into one of the best early-season events in Mississippi. Six teams that reached the final eight of their respective classifications in 2017-18, including Class 6A champion Columbus, will be in action.

“Brandon and Greenville could very well be a 6A championship game. Terry-Forest Hill, both of those teams were in the Coliseum last year. Yazoo City-Lanier, Clinton-Columbus, Jim Hill-Vicksburg, Warren Central and Crystal Springs. I think it’s a pretty good lineup,” Robinson said. “It’s some good teams around here and then you’ve got some big-name players in it. Forest Hill has two Dandy Dozens. Greenville has the best point guard maybe in the state. Shaw is pretty good. You can pay $10 and see some good basketball the whole night. I’m really proud of what we have.”

The tournament has nearly doubled in size from its inaugural edition. Ten teams played five games last year.

Robinson said his goal is to turn the event into not just a moneymaker for his program, but the entire city.

“This is something we’re trying to grow. I think Vicksburg is a destination place. I think a lot of people think Vicksburg is a destination place,” Robinson said. “It’s played on the Monday before Black Friday, and Black Friday means dollars. Somebody coming over here on the 19th has money in their pocket. Winston Academy has already booked five hotel rooms.”

For the local teams, the River City Challenge will offer tests on a couple of different levels.
Vicksburg’s game with Jim Hill at 6:30 p.m. is the first of two it will play in an 18-hour span. Tuesday’s home game against Clinton was moved up to 1 p.m. since both teams are out of school during Thanksgiving week.

Warren Central will face Crystal Springs (2-0), a perennial power in Class 3A. It’s part of a rugged early-season schedule that Robinson hopes will prepare his team for later in the season.

Among the Vikings’ non-region games before New Year’s are dates with defending Class 4A champion Raymond; Class 5A runner-up Forest Hill and 6A semifinalist Starkville; and solid programs like Ridgeland, Germantown, Brandon, Lanier and Vicksburg.

“That’s brutal, and even as you go down it’s still pretty brutal,” Robinson said. “It’s going to help us a lot, because we have to go play at Clinton and Greenville, and even Provine is a much improved team. That’s going to really sharpen us up for divisional play.”

Monday, at Warren Central
Admission: $10

9:30 a.m. – Winston Academy vs. Riverside
10:45 a.m. – Shaw vs. Magee
12 p.m. – Pearl vs. Mendenhall
1:15 p.m. – Brandon vs. Greenville
2:30 p.m. – Terry vs. Forest Hill
3:45 p.m. – Yazoo City vs. Lanier
5 p.m. – Clinton vs. Columbus
6:15 p.m. – Vicksburg vs. Jim Hill
7:30 p.m. – Warren Central vs. Crystal Springs

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

email author More by Ernest