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Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016

Ranked teams no match for top-seeded Charleston

Tuesday, December 24, 2002

The University High Christmas Tournament has a new name this year, the seMissourian Christmas Basketball Tournament.

The 58th annual event will still feature 16 local teams, keep the two-official format like last year and be played at the Show-Me Center in Cape Girardeau.

As for this year's matchups...seMe vomit!

Calm down tournament officials, I'm just joking. No need to ban folks this season.

With the talent in this year's field, this just might turn out to be the most memorable tournament at the Show-Me Center in several years.

Three of the tournament's teams are currently ranked in the state poll.

Scott City is No. 4 in Class 3, Advance is No. 10 in Class 2 and Bell City is No. 6 in Class 1.

Can any of these highly-touted teams stay on the same court with top-seeded Charleston, who is unranked in Class 3?

Forget about it.

The Bluejays might not have as pretty of a record, but how do you think those other teams would fare against Charleston's schedule?

Scott City, 2-6 at best.

Advance, maybe 1-7.

Bell City, 3-5 if they got lucky.

Charleston should be highly ranked in the state poll, and they probably will be after they run the table at the seMissourian this week.

The Bluejays won't be challenged until the finals, when they run into either Notre Dame or Jackson.

Both of those teams have the potential to give them a game, but don't expect an upset.

Charleston will win its 15th U-High, or seMissourian, title this year, whatever you want to call it.

I think the most interesting thing about the tournament will be the race for second place.

Jackson and Notre Dame both offer up good teams in the bottom half of the bracket, and they should be tested by small schools with big talent.

Bell City is the defending Class 1 state champion and is off to a solid start.

The Cubs are 6-1, and offer up two of the top players in the tournament with Eric Henry and Dominitrix Johnson. After David Heeb's troops trounce Woodland in the first round, they will go head to head with Tyler McNeely and the Jackson Indians on Friday.

Notre Dame might also get a small-school scare in the second round.

After they obliterate Oak Ridge on Thursday, the Bulldogs will take on red-hot Scott City in the second round.

The Rams are 5-0 with quality wins over Oran and Advance. Regardless of what happens, it's nice to see Scott City head coach Kerry Thompson have some success.

He always kept a positive attitude when he was at East Prairie and called us after every game, win or lose. Right now, his team is the biggest surprise in the area. In the top half of the bracket, it appears Oran will get a shot at Cape Central on Friday. Who's going to guard that 6-foot-8 transfer Scott Chestnut?

Even if all the large schools prevail in the second round, there would still be an interesting battle for fifth place between Oran, Scott City and Bell City.

That alone might make the seMissourian worth the price of admission.