(Photo by David Jenkins, Staff)
"It is always a good tournament," said Sikeston coach Gregg Holifield. "We're looking forward to it. We know it's going to be outstanding competition."
Sikeston (7-1) is scheduled to play Harrison, Ga., in the first round at 5:30 p.m. tommorrow at E.T. Peters Gym in Poplar Bluff.
Harrison (8-2) features Matt Sundberg, a 6-7 small forward who has committed to play at the College of Charleston next season. He is joined by Ryan Bayersdorfer, a 6-6 senior forward who is also getting looks from colleges as well as Gerald Smith, a 6-2 guard. Darvin Adams, a 6-4 senior, will also see plenty of action and has signed to play football for Auburn.
"Everything I've found out about them is they are a really good team," Holifield said. "I know they are big and I think they are going to present problems for us in certain areas. But it is a good challenge and a good test for us."
If Sikeston wins against Harrison, the Bulldogs will play the winner of Maplewood-Richmond Heights/Liberty Tech, Tenn. game on Friday at 5:30 p.m. If Sikeston loses to Harrison, they will play the loser of the Maplewood/Liberty Tech game at 4 p.m. Friday.
Maplewood, coached by Charleston alum Corey Frazier, is 6-1 while Liberty Tech was 9-4 before playing in last week's prestigious Larry Finch Classic in Memphis.
Poplar Bluff, Raytown, Mills University Studies, Ark., and Union City, Tenn. round out the field.
The final day of the tournament is Saturday with the championship game scheduled for 8:30 p.m.
"I really haven't looked past our first round," Holifield said. "I'll get an opportunity to see the other teams play the first night. From everything I can gather, I think it is a very competitive, tough tournament."
Sikeston last played in the Showdown in 2000 and success is hard to find. The Bulldogs went 0-3 in 1999, including an opening round loss to Harrison 71-
51. In 2000, the Bulldogs went 0-2 in the event.
After 2000, Siketon did not play in a holiday tournament until last season when they finished seventh in the Dyersburg Christmas Tournament.
Holifield said that the competition the Bulldogs will see will help them later in the season into the playoffs.
"You see different people and different styles of play," Holifield said. "It's just different competition, so we're really looking forward to it."
Notes -- Last year, Forrest City, Ark., defeated Vashon in the championship game. Neither team is entered in this year's event-- Vashon has won the most titles (5) since the Showdown began in 1987-- the only time a team from southeast Missouri won the tournament was 2004 when Tyler Hansbrough led the Poplar Bluff Mules to the title.