Tuesday, October 04, 2016 - Updated: 2:00 PM
By David Green
DRAFFENVILLE - Nineteen teams, including four local schools, four others from Kentucky, four mainstream traditional high schools from three other states and seven national prep basketball squads, will make up the field for the 21st Hoop Fest, scheduled for Dec. 1-3 at Marshall County High School’s Reed Conder Gymnasium.
The nationally acclaimed tournament is regarded as a showcase for rising stars of the college and professional ranks, with prospects who are being recruited by the University of Kentucky getting the lion’s share of interest.
Fifteen boys games are scheduled, with games on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings, plus a Saturday morning session.
Leading the list of participants in this year’s Hoop Fest are Oak Hill Academy of Mouth of Wilson, Virginia, one of the top national barnstorming teams in the nation, and the host Marshall County Marshals.
Local schools participating, besides Marshall County, include McCracken County, Graves County and Massac County of Metropolis, Illinois.
Christian County, Bowling Green, Hopkinsville and Paul Laurence Dunbar of Lexington will also represent the Commonwealth in the tourney.
Out-of-state visitors will include Jemison, Alabama; Hamilton Heights (McKenzie, Tennessee); Althoff Catholic (Belleville, Illinois); and Marie Sklodowska Curie Metropolitan, a four-year public magnet school in southwest Chicago.
National travel teams coming to Hoop Fest 2016 will include Aspire Basketball Academy (Scottsdale, Arizona); Sunrise Christian Academy (Wichita, Kansas); Hillcrest Academy (Phoenix); Prolific Prep (Napa, California) and its northern spin-off, Prolific Prep North (Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario); and Tennessee Preparatory Academy (Memphis, Tennessee).
Two girls games are also scheduled, with the host Lady Marshals playing Massac County and Henderson County.
Oak Hill is the thoroughbred of the prep-school and travel teams. It has a 138-year history as a Baptist-affiliated private boarding school with an athletic program that also includes soccer, volleyball and an equestrian program. The school, which opened in 1878, traces its basketball history to 1977.
Last year’s team compiled a 45-1 record, including a pair of wins in the 2015 Hoop Fest, and was boasted the school’s 10th No. 1 national ranking.
The Warriors have 49 games listed on their Gold Team schedule, with the two Hoop Fest games slotted in as the 12th and 13th games.
Oak Hill, coached by Steve Smith, has a 24-2 record in Hoop Fest games. Lexington Catholic defeated the Warriors 62-49 in their second Hoop Fest game in 1997 at Metropolis, and Flossmoor of Homewood, Illinois, took a 68-67 victory in 2004 at Conder Gymnasium.
Oak Hill, with appearances in 16 Hoop Fest events, has a 16-game winning streak since that loss to Flossmoor, including victories last year over St. Louis Chaminade and Athletes Institute.
Oak Hill’s Smith is in his 32nd year as coach of the Warriors and reached the 1,000-win milestone last year.
Marshall County is 21-6 in Hoop Fest competition. The school has participated in 17 of the 20 editions of Hoop Fest, including two of the first five events at Massac County and all 15 held on the Marshals’ home court.
21st MARSHALL COUNTY HOOP FEST
Thursday, Dec. 1
• 4 p.m. – GIRLS: Marshall County versus Massac County (Metropolis, Illinois)
• 5 p.m. – Marshall County versus Massac County (Metropolis, Illinois)
• 7 p.m. – Graves County versus Christian County
• 8 p.m. – Aspire Basketball Academy (Scottsdale, Arizona) versus Sunrise Christian Academy (Wichita, Kansas)
Friday, Dec. 2
• 4 p.m. – Aspire Basketball Academy versus Jemison, Alabama
• 5 p.m. – Prolific Prep (Napa, California) versus Hamilton Heights (McKenzie, Tennessee)
• 7 p.m. – Hillcrest Academy (Phoenix, Arizona) versus Prolific Prep North (Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario)
• 8:30 p.m. – Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Virginia) versus Tennessee Preparatory Academy (Memphis, Tennessee)
Saturday, Dec. 3
• 10 a.m. – McCracken County versus Bowling Green
• 11:30 a.m. – GIRLS: Marshall County versus Henderson County
• 1 p.m. – Marshall County versus Hopkinsville
• 3:30 p.m. – Paul Laurence Dunbar versus Jemison
• 5 p.m. – Althoff Catholic (Belleville, Illinois) versus Curie Metropolitan (Chicago)
• 6 p.m. – Oak Hill Academy versus Prolific Prep North
• 8 p.m. – Hillcrest Academy versus Hamilton Heights