DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — The inaugural Turkey Classic basketball tournament tipped off in the Dothan Civic Center Monday afternoon.
Eight teams were competing to punch their ticket to the Dothan Hoops Classic at the end of December.
The winner of this two day tournament will take the sixteenth spot in the December tournament.
The event is put on by the City of Dothan with the goal to offer different schools a fair chance at competing in the December tournament.
“It’s meant a lot to be invited,” Georgiana Head Coach Kirk Norris said. “It means that you’ve got a good program if you get invited to come. Our kids are excited and we’re looking forward to competing.”
Along with the opportunity to advance to the Hoops Classic, this new tournament offers teams the chance to play on a big stage.
“We have a really small gym and as you progress and you play off and you make a run in the post season you’re inevitably going to come across a venue like this,” Malone Head Coach Steven Welch said. “The open air, the standalone goals, and we have a team that hasn’t ever experienced playing in that environment.”
In the first round Andalusia beat Florala and will play Malone, who beat Highland Home in the semis.
“We’ve all been working since last season, off season, since we got a new coach” Andalusia sophomore Tyler Sigers said. “As soon as he came in he started working on new things, getting better.”
Georgiana toppled LaFayette and will play Cottonwood, who beat G.W. Long, in the semifinals on Tuesday.
Some of the teams have played in the Dothan Hoops Classic before but haven’t been back in a few years.
“It would mean the world,” G.W. Long senior Avery Roberts said. “That’s what everybody wants to do. That’s what’s known around here. That’s like the big tournament. So it means a lot to make it our senior year and go out with a bang.”
Other teams are fighting for their first chance to play in the December classic.
“Hopefully we get more people to look at Cottonwood,” Cottonwood senior Mekhi Anglin said. “To come see what the community is like and what the other players can do and hopefully we just bring the environment up.”
The semifinals are Tuesday at 10 a.m. and 12 a.m. and the championship game is set for 3 p.m.