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Ironton Classic has impressive lineup

Jim Walker

Merry Christmas basketball fans.
The 12th annual Ironton Classic will be played Saturday and Sunday at the Sports Center and feature 13 teams in nine games.
The headline teams will be Wesley Christian Academy of Kentucky, MACK Prep of North Carolina, Andrews Osborne Academy of Ohio and Vision Academy of New York.
While the academy teams are battling each other, nine high school teams will face off including the host Ironton Fighting Tigers who will play their first game of the season under first-year head coach P.J. Fitch.
Admission each day is $8.
Ironton plays the always tough Columbus Africentric at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday and then returns 24 hours later to play the Alexander Spartans featuring 5-10 senior guard and all-district first team pick last season J.K. Kearns as well as 6-10 all-district center Caleb Terry.
Africentric was the Division 3 state runners-up last season and have had three Final Four appearances in the past nine years.
The Nubians are led by senior guard Cali Davis who averages 17 points and 5 assists. Elijahjuan Burke averages 12 points and 4 assist and Dan Wagner 12 points and 3 assists.
The Classic starts at 1:15 on Saturday as the Coal Grove Hornets play the Huntington St. Joseph.
Coal Grove is coming off back-to-back district championships for the first time in school history.
The Fighting Irish are 3-0 and led by sophomores Kaden Warner, Zavion Johnson and Gunner Hickman and freshman Jaylen Motley. The Irish have wins over Portsmouth, Buffalo and Tolsia, a game that saw Warner score 41 including five 3-pointers.
The second game on Saturday has the always talented Whitehall Rams playing the Huntington High Highlanders.
Whitehall-Yearling is currently 4-0 on the season and led by 6-4 forward Royal Sibley, Charles Miller and Josiah Mobley.
Huntington High School — a program with five state titles to its credit — features college prospects are Torin Locow, junior Amara Smith and junior Eli Archer who played at Chesapeake last season.
The Ironton Lady Fighting Tigers will tip-off Sunday’s games at 3 p.m. against the Lewis Center Olentangy Lady Braves.
Olentangy is a Division 2 school and is led by Bailey Cummings and 6-foot Karmen Long.
The first game between the academies will be at 4:45 p.m. on Saturday as MACP Prep faces Andrews Osborne Academy from Willoughby, Ohio.
With an enrollment of 500 and in its second year, Andrews Osborne Phoenix will feature Tyruse Boock who is on the recruiting list of Mercy College of New York, SUNY Plattsburg and Case Western Reserve along with Cole O’Dowd who is high on the charts for Swathmore College and St. John’s Fisher.
MACK Prep is nationally ranked and has more than 90 players among the college ranks at schools in all the major conferences.
Alumni include Daryl Edwards who played in the 2014 Ironton Classic and is a senior and second leading scorer for UTEP.
Soufiyane Diakite was the MEAC Defensive Player of the Year and played in the 2013 Classic. He is currently playing professionally. Trey Davis plays in the NBA G-League and scored a single-game record 57 p oints for Maine.
The top prospects this season for the Wildcats are Alex Vannoy, Slywester Granda, Makaari Jones and Torraine Simpson.
Saturday’s premier game has Wesley Christian play Vision Academy of New York at 8:15 p.m.
The Circuit Riders are regulars at The Classic and bring with them some top-flight talent.
Gabe Wuor is a Stetson commit while Madit Lueeth is deciding between Maryland, Washington State, Colorado State and Marquette.
Wesley Christian also has Awer Awer who is looking at Southern Illinois and Wright State while Roger Maemets is headed to Marshall.
Two other top prospects are Luka Tomovic and Bradley Beemon.
Vision Academy has an enrollment of 210 and posted a 25-20 record last season.
After the Ironton girls play Olentangy at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Andrews Osborne plays Vision Academy at 4:45 followed by Ironton and Alexander and then the marquee matchup between Wesley Christian and MACK Prep at 8:15.

Ironton Classic
Ironton High School
Saturday, Dec. 21
1:15 p.m. — Huntington St. Joe vs. Coal Grove
3:00 — Whitehall vs. Huntington, W.Va.
4:45 p.m. — MACK Prep (NC) vs. Andrews Osborne Academy (OH)
6:30 — Ironton vs. Africentric
8:15 — Vision Academy (NY) vs. Wesley Christian (Ky.)
Sunday, Dec. 22
3 p.m. — Olentangy vs. Ironton girls
4:45 — Andrews Osborne Academy (OH) vs. Vision Academy (NY)
6:30 — Alexander vs. Ironton
8:15 — Wesley Christian (Ky.) vs. MACK Prep (NC)
St. Joseph Flyers’ Holiday Tournament
Parish Life Center
Thursday, Dec. 26
Girls’ Tournament
5:30 – Belpre vs. Maysville (Ky.) St. Patrick
7:30 – Rose Hill Christian vs. St. Joseph
Friday, Dec. 27
5:30 – St. Joseph (Huntington, W.Va.) vs. Portsmouth Notre Dame
7:30 – Rose Hill Christian vs. St. Joseph (Ironton)
Saturday, Dec. 28
10 a.m. – Girls’ Consolation Game
Noon – Girls’ Championship Game
2 p.m. – Boys’ Consolation Game
4 p.m. – Boy’s Championship Game
Beast of the Southeast
Chesapeake High School
Saturday, Jan. 11
Noon – Coal Grove vs. Oak Hill
2 p.m. – Eastern Brown vs. Alexander
4 p.m. – Peebles vs. Trimble
6 p.m. – North Adams vs. Chesapeake
8 p.m. – Fairland vs. Waverly
Tackett’s Body Shop Shootout
Ironton High School
Saturday, Feb. 1
10:30 a.m. — Huntington vs. Franklin
12:10 p.m. — South Point vs. West Carter, Ky.
1:50 p.m. — Wheelersburg vs. Russell, Ky.
3:30 p.m. — Ashland, Ky. vs. Portsmouth Notre Dame
5:10 p.m. — Cincinnati Mt. Notre Dame vs. Huntington (W.Va.) St. Joseph
6:50 p.m. — Ironton vs. Lewis County, Ky.
8:30 p.m. — Ironton boys vs. Elliott County, Ky.