It is an annual whirlwind tournament where 32 games will be played in a span of two days when the Aledo Bearcats host Moritz Holiday Classic at the Aledo High School gym.
Bearcats head coach Fred Jones said the tournament field will keep its rich history of attracting top teams. Along with Aledo and defending Moritz Holiday Classic champion Keller, the field will consist of Burleson Centennial, McKinney, Mansfield Summit, Universal Academy, Keller Timbercreek, Everman, Mansfield High School, Terrell, Weatherford, Arlington High School, Western Hills, Molina, Paschal and Arlington Oak Ridge.
“Keller is returning, and they are the defending champion of the Moritz tournament,” Jones said. “Last year we had two teams that participated in the state tournament (Northwest, Keller). We have teams from Arlington, Mansfield, and Terrell returning to tournament.
“There will be more than 10 playoff teams from a year ago in attendance. This tournament has proven to be a great competitive environment to jump start teams into tough district games.”
Jones feels the tournament, where all teams are guaranteed four games (two games each day), helps prepare his team for the rigors of district play. The tournament represents the last four non-district games for Aledo.
“For us, this tournament is a great measuring stick for before district,” Jones said. “We are able to test lineups, schemes, and personnel. This year, we have great senior leadership. We have already played in three overtime games, and have won against some great programs.
“The Moritz tournament is customarily the first competition for our two-way football-basketball varsity athletes just coming into basketball. So, it an opportunity to create some depth and acclimate players to the system. Whenever you get a chance to play athletic and successful programs like Everman, Mansfield Summit and McKinney, it’s just great for our kids.”
Jones said he appreciates the title sponsor and all Moritz and other sponsors put into the tournament.
“The best part of this tournament is that it is a family event for Aledo,” Jones said. “The Moritz company is our sponsor for this event. They do an awesome job of supporting all of Aledo athletics. Our partnership with them over the years has been great for our kids.
“They have brought basketball to Aledo for the Holidays. Without them, we would not be able to host such a great event. They consistently demonstrate that they care about our kids and make a difference in the community.”
Aledo will begin tournament play at noon Thursday, Dec. 28 against Molina in the main gym. No matter if Aledo wins or loses, the Bearcats will play again later that day at 7:30 p.m.
Below is the first-round schedule:
First round (Thursday, Dec. 28)
Keller vs. Burleson Centennial 9 a.m. (main gym)
Universal Academy vs. Timbercreek 9 a.m. (PE gym)
McKinney vs. Mansfield Summit 10:30 a.m. (main gym)
Everman vs. Mansfield 10:30 a.m. (PE gym)
Aledo vs. Molina Noon (main gym)
Terrell vs. Weatherford Noon (PE gym)
Paschal vs. Oakridge 1:30 p.m. (main gym)
Arlington vs. Western Hills 1:30 p.m. (PE gym)