Are you ready for some basketball?
John Pearson is. He is the head basketball coach at Porter-Gaud and is the director of the Porter-Gaud Holiday Classic, which tips off early Saturday and crowns its champion Tuesday night.
Pearson will be busy coaching and overseeing the 15th annual event, which is one of the largest high school preseason hoops tournaments in the country with 32 boys and girls teams in the field. There will be 16 games a day played in Porter-Gaud’s two gyms.
Local teams in this year’s field include Porter-Gaud, Academic Magnet, Charleston Charter, First Baptist, Northwood Academy, James Island, Burke, Ashley Hall, Pinewood Prep, Bishop England and Charleston Collegiate.
“Once again, we have a competitive field from our area and in the South with a good number of teams from Georgia and North Carolina,” Pearson said. “We have some teams who play at a high level and have a chance to win state championships.”
The boys field includes Pinewood and Porter-Gaud, perennial contenders for the SCISA state title. The Cyclones have a young team with potential stars. K.J. James has attracted interest from Clemson, South Carolina and Georgetown. Senior James Sanderson, who has grown eight inches since he enrolled in high school, is 6-8 and has the ability to play college ball, Pearson said.
The girls field includes defending SCISA Class AAA champ Pinewood Prep and Northwood Academy, which is No. 1 in the latest state poll.
Goose Creek standout pitcher Zach Lavery recently signed to play baseball for The Citadel. He had four victories his junior season with a 3.04 ERA. He struck out 75 batters in 53 innings.
He batted .295 with two homers and eight RBIs.
Lavery is a three-year starter and holds the school’s single-season and career records for strikeouts.
He also was a member of the Gators’ football team, which won the Division II-AAAA state championship earlier this month.
Region 6-A stars
Jalen Frazier of Cross was named player of the year and Earl Brown Jr. of Burke was named coach of the year in Region 6-A football.
Burke, which won the region title, had six players make the all-region team: Devantae Wilder, David Brown, John Ross, Reynard Nelson, Bakari Blunt and Solomon Dukes.
The other local players were: Frazier, Devonte Shepherd, Stephon Shepherd, Treston Haskell and Achanti Crowder of Cross; Sid Smith, Josh Roper, Isaac Hamilton and London Brown of St. John’s; Baptist Hill’s Shaquille Mitchell, Dakota Holmes and Justin Campbell; Justin Paisley and Jamell Frasier of Military Magnet; and Harry Powell of Lincoln.
Follow Phil Bowman on Twitter: @pandcphil.