Whitehall’s gymnasium will be the sight of eight basketball games in two days as the Railroaders present their annual Whitehall Holiday Tournament.
The tournament, which has become an annual tradition in Whitehall, offers fans the opportunity to watch an out of state rivalry and an Adirondack League grudge match between the hometown Railroaders and the Flying Forts of Fort Edward.
Play starts at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 26, and continues through the scheduled start of the tournament championship game at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 27.
The first game of the tournament is a junior varsity match up between the Fair Haven Slaters and the Poultney Blue Devils. Their peers from Fort Edward and Whitehall will play immediately following the game.
The varsity games are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. as Fort Edward takes on Whitehall.
The Railroaders lost to Fort Edward 53-44 in the opening round of last year’s tournament and will be looking to exact some revenge.
Fort Edward had yet to win a game at the time of publication and Whitehall entered Tuesday’s game 1-2. The game will take on extra meaning as it serves as an Adirondack League game.
The final game of the first round pits last year’s champion, Fair Haven against Poultney in a Green Mountain state showdown.
The game is also a homecoming of sorts for Fair Haven head coach Bob Prenevost, who is a former Railroaders head coach and counts Whitehall head coach Keith Redmond among his former players.
After a brief 24-hour break, play resumes the following day as 3 p.m. with the junior varsity consolation game followed by the junior varsity championship game.
The consolation game for the varsity teams will be held at 6 p.m. and the championship is scheduled to begin around 7:30 p.m.
Granville tournament starts Thursday
The longest existing tournament in the area will take place once again at the end of next week.
For the 33rd year, the American Legion has organized a Christmas basketball tournament to take place on Dec. 27 and 28.
Granville will host the two-day event and will compete against Mount St. Joseph Academy in Rutland, Fort Ann Central School and Hadley-Luzerne. Ed Hayes, a member of the American Legion and chairman of the tournament, said the event has been very successful through the years, and credits this success to support from surrounding areas.
“It would not happen without the community — donations make it go,” Hayes said. He thinks this competition is unique because of everything organizers give away from it.
All varsity players and the winning junior varsity team get shirts for their participation, and there is a pizza party for all the cheerleaders and players on the first day.
“We hope to break even and make some money at the gates; it all goes to scholarships and the community,” Hayes said. He said the event tends to be popular, especially with kids who are home visiting from college. Some years, there has hardly been room for all the fans.
“The kids really enjoy it; we hope to keep it going as long as there’s interest,” Hayes said.
On Thursday, Dec. 27, Granville junior varsity will play at 1:30 p.m. and varsity will play at 7:30 p.m. Scheduling on Friday depends on the first day’s winners. Sunday will be left open as a rain day in case of inclement weather.
Admission is $3 for adults, $2 for kids and $1 for anyone to see junior varsity play in the afternoon.