Classic tips off today with prep showcase

Published 12:40 am Sunday, December 21, 2014

Jim Walker


Mom and dad, how about tickets to the Ironton Classic as a Christmas present?

It’ll be the gift that keeps giving for three days as the annual Ironton Classic tips off at 3 p.m. today with the marquee matchup between national prep team powers Hargrave Military Academy and Mt. Zion Christian Academy.

While tickets are $10 on Monday and Tuesday with six games scheduled each day, Sunday’s marquee matchup of prep teams will be at 3 p.m. and cost $5. Veterans will be admitted for $4.

Hargrave is coached by former Marshall guard A.W. Hamilton and features four top college prospects.

Trey Grundy is being recruited by UNCW, Kejuan Johnson by Rutgers, Danjel Purifoy by Auburn and Tyrone Taylor by Wichita State.

Purifoy is listed as one of the top 100 players in the country by and ESPN.

The Tigers — who were national champions in 2004 and 2008 — were 32-8 last season and finished among the Elite 8 in the national tournament.

Mt Zion is coached by Stephen Baines and is led by 7-foot center Raekwon Long and 6-10 center Iran Bennet. Also on the front line is 6-7 forward Thadeus Middleton.

Among Mt. Zion’s alumni is former NBA star Tracy McGrady.

Other prep teams scheduled include M.A.C.K Prep, Wesley Christian (Ky.) and West Oaks Academy. Prep teams always feature many of the top players in the country.

There will be one girls’ game and it features the Ironton Lady Fighting Tigers at 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday against the defending Division III state champion Columbus Africentric.

The Ironton boys will play Waverly at 7:30 on Monday and a talent laden Spring Valley (W.Va.) at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

Other local teams include: St. Joseph vs. Sciotoville East at 12:30 p.m. Monday; South Point vs. Columbus Whitehall at 4 p.m. Monday; Coal Grove vs. Columbus Whitehall at 2:15 p.m. Tuesday; and Fairland vs. Africentric at 4 p.m. on Tuesday.

Proceeds from the tournament will help to remodel the Conley Sports Center, provide funds for scholarships and other needs. Tickets are $10 each day and allow admission to all games that day.

Main sponsors for this year’s Classic include Western & Southern Life, Collins Career Center, Ohio University Southern, St. Mary’s Medical Center, Buffalo Wild Wings, Giovanni’s Pizza, Fox Sports Radio and Rax Roast Beef.

Bronze sponsors are Bartram & Son Grocery and Coca Cola Bottling Co.


Ironton Classic 2014 Schedule

Sunday, Dec. 21

3 p.m. — Hargrave Military Academy (Va.) vs. Mt. Zion Christian Academy (N.C.)

Monday, Dec. 22

12:30 p.m. — St. Joseph vs. Sciotoville East

2:15 p.m. — Cincinnati Taft vs. M.A.C.K. Prep (N.C.)

4 p.m. — South Point vs. Collumbus Whitehall

5:45 p.m. – Mt. Zion Christian Academy vs. West Oaks Prep (Fla.)

7:30 p.m. — Ironton vs. Waverly

9:15 p.m. — West Oaks Academy (Fla.) vs. Wesley Christian, Ky.

Tuesday, Dec. 23

12:30 p.m. — Ironton Lady Fighting Tigers vs. Columbus Africentric

2:15 p.m. — Coal Grove vs. Columbus Whitehall

4:00 p.m. — Fairland vs. Africentric

5:45 p.m. — Columbus Northland vs. West Oaks Academy

7:30 p.m. — Ironton vs. Spring Valley, W.Va.

9:15 p.m. — West Oaks Prep vs. M.A.C.K. Prep