Following the season’s official start Monday, the tournaments began Tuesday with the Ballard Lee Bearcat Tip-Off Classic at Virginia High. The tournament runs through Saturday.
Eight boys teams — Patrick Henry, Northwood, John Battle, Abingdon, Lebanon, Castlewood, Virginia High and Northwood — and eight girls teams — Marion, John Battle, George Wythe, Patrick Henry, Eastside, Holston, Virginia High and Castlewood — are competing in the tournament.
Another girls tournament begins next week at Virginia-Wise’s Prior Center. The Powell Valley National Bank Tip-Off Classic runs Dec. 6-8.
Eight teams are playing in the round-robin tournament: defending VHSL Class 2 champion Wise Central along with Union, Lebanon, Honaker, Rural Retreat, East Ridge (Ky.), Shelby Valley (Ky.) and State Line Rush, a Galax-based team of home-schooled students.
Several Southwest Virginia teams are traveling out of state the week before Christmas to compete in tournaments.
The Wise Central and Eastside boys and girls and the girls from Twin Springs and Ridgeview are competing in the Smoky Mountain Classic in Gatlinburg on Dec. 20-22.
The slate to close out 2018 concludes with the largest boys tournament of the year in far Southwest Virginia: the Grand Home Furnishings Holiday Classic at the Prior Center.
The tournament, which features a 12-team field, begins its four-day run on Dec. 26 on the Virginia-Wise campus. Competing are boys teams from J.I. Burton, Honaker, Richlands, Berea (Ky.), Ridgeview, Eastside, Northwood, Rye Cove, Virginia High, Chilhowie, Lebanon and Wise Central.
GRAHAM, CHILHOWIE STILL GOING
Graham and Chilhowie are still in action on the gridiron and one win away from playing for a state football championship.
Graham travels to Radford on Saturday for a VHSL Class 2 semifinal game that kicks off at 2 p.m.
Undefeated Chilhowie hosts Galax on Saturday in a 1:30 p.m. VHSL Class 1 semifinal.
BASKETBALL TOP SIX PICKS
With the basketball season beginning this week, here’s a look at the preseason hoops top six in Southwest Virginia.
1. Gate City
6. J.I. Burton
1. Wise Central
4. Virginia High