BLOOMFIELD - The 50th Annual Bloomfield Christmas Tournament opens up play on Tuesday and the state ranked Malden Green Wave garnered the No. 1 seed.
Malden is ranked No. 8 in the latest Class 3 poll and are led by 6-foot-6 Robbie Ison and 5-9 point guard Alonzo Louis. The Green Wave have an undefeated record of 8-0 and already have a first place tournament trophy that they won in Oran.
Malden's first round opponent will be Richland (2-3). The Rebels will be back at full strength with the addition of 5-10 guard Cameron Whittaker from injury. In his last game against East Prairie, Whittaker lit up the scoreboard for 35 points in his second game of the year.
Richland and Malden will open the tournament on Tuesday at 10 a.m.
Doniphan (4-1) won the 2005 title and earned the No. 2 seed in this year's tournament. The Dons return the Wilson brothers, Charles and Chandler, along with Nick Webb (6-2) and Adam Carpenter (6-1). Doniphan's only loss this year was to a solid Jackson Indian club.
The Dons will face No. 15 seed East Carter County Redbirds in the first round at 11:15 a.m.
Portageville (5-0) is the No. 3 seed and will face the host school at 12:30 a.m. The Bulldogs won the tourney back in 1990 and 1992. Portageville has finished second a total of six times, the last being in 2004.
The Bulldogs have two solid seniors in Marcus Greene (6-2) and Trey Mosby (5-11) and a talented freshman in Kony Ealy (6-5). Mosby is still limited in his outside shot due to breaking his arm in football.
"Trey is getting better," said Portageville head coach Jim Bidewell, "but he is still hindered physically. Trey is learning to work through the injury and in my eyes, he is making good progress."
Ealy has been splitting time between the varsity and junior varsity in the early going. Bidewell admitted that Early will be ready to go for four quarters in the tournament.
"We are a young team that is working hard every day in practice to improve," said Bidewell. "We can't look past Bloomfield. We have to take 'em one at a time. I do feel like we have a good shot as any to win the whole thing. However, a bad night here or there and you are done. I enjoy coming to this tourney because it is a fun thing around the holidays."
Puxico (5-1) earned the No. 4 seed and will face No. 13 Twin Rivers at 1:45 p.m. Like Malden, the Indians have won a tournament title at the Holcomb Tournament.
East Prairie (5-2) garnered the No. 5 seed and will battle No. 12 seed Van Buren at 3:30 p.m. The Eagles are led by 6-2 forward Tony Jones and trio of speedy guards in Paris Tipler (5-9), M.C. Williams (5-5) and Randy Woods (5-9).
East Prairie head coach Matt Schonhoff believes his team will be very competitive in the tournament.
"We want to make the final four and play on the final night," said Schonhoff. "Malden is loaded and I would love for us to get the chance to play them early."
With the No. 6 seed, South Pemiscot will meet No. 11 Kennett at 5 p.m., followed by No. 7 seed Bernie matching up with ten seed Greenville at 6:30 p.m. The final game of the night at 8 p.m. will pit No. 8 seed Hayti against No. 9 seed Dexter.