GIRLS' PREP BASKETBALL: Elizabethtown's annual HoopFest set for Saturday (11/22)

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By Nathaniel Bryan

The annual Mark Harris Construction/Physical Therapy Associates Preseason HoopFest at Elizabethtown’s Charlie Rawlings Memorial Gymnasium and the auxiliary gym sports a lot of familiar faces.

Joining the host Lady Panthers (23-8 last season) in the seven-game event are Bullitt Central (11-18), Christian County (8-20), Franklin-Simpson (19-13), Green County (17-14), Hancock County (17-12), Lincoln County (27-6), Louisville Ballard (26-4), Louisville Butler (23-8), Louisville DuPont Manual (25-9), Louisville Male (17-12), Marion County (39-0), Oldham County (16-13) and South Oldham (15-15).

Marion County is the reigning state champion, Anderson County advanced to the state semifinals and Lincoln County also made it to State, where it lost to Owensboro Catholic in the first round.

“I think we’re going to have some very competitive scrimmages,” Elizabethtown coach Tim Mudd said. “This is something we’ve been doing for a while, but we stole the idea from Scott County. We had been to theirs for a few years and they do a great job, so we kind of started doing it here.”

Bullitt Central, Christian County, Lincoln County, South Oldham were all in it last year as Christian County played Lincoln County and Bullitt Central played South Oldham. DuPont Manual and Elizabethtown were originally part of last year’s field, but their meeting with each other was moved to T.K. Stone Middle School the same night to be the marquee game as part of the inaugural Kentucky High School Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off Classic.

Ballard, Butler, Manual, Franklin-Simpson and South Oldham were in the 2011 field and Butler, Manual and Green County played in it in 2010.

In order to have so many quality teams wanting to come back, Mudd said the sponsors, volunteers and event personnel must be doing something right.

In addition to Mark Harris Construction and Physical Therapy Associates providing the financial backing, Duke’s Sporting Goods gives the teams shirts and Domino’s Pizza feeds them.

Plus, Elizabethtown gets a good rate from the area’s officials association, which in turn gives its refs a day to work off the rust.

“Obviously it’s not going to be good if you don’t have good officiating, which we always do,” Mudd said. “And you have to take care of your teams who come in. Domino’s is great to us. Mark Harris and Guy Wallace (Physical Therapy Associates) have been our sponsors now for what, 10 years? And we are really appreciative of what they do to make this a great event. We call it a preseason hoopfest, but what it is is basketball all day with good teams.”

There are four games in Charlie Rawlings. Bullitt Central plays South Oldham at 10 a.m., Ballard takes on Lincoln County at 1 p.m., Manual and Marion County face off at 4 and Elizabethtown plays Butler at 7.

Franklin-Simpson plays Hancock County at 10 a.m., Christian County takes on Green County at 1 p.m. and Male meets Oldham County at 4 in the auxiliary gym.

The reason there are 3 hours between tip-offs is because the sessions feature four varsity quarters and then four quarters for the junior varsity squads.

“One thing I don’t like about other places that we’ve been is that your JV doesn’t get to play a lot,” Mudd said. “That was one thing we kind of altered with ours by letting teams bring in their JV. There are only so many games you can get in a day when you have JV and varsity, so that will limit how many teams we can bring in.”

In other girls’ preseason action Saturday:

* LaRue County, coming off a 27-6 season in which the Lady Hawks advanced to the 5th Region Tournament final for the first time, take on Louisville Assumption (22-8 last season) at 12:10 p.m. in the Scott County Hoopfest.

* Meade County (23-10) takes on Louisville Eastern (17-10) at 10 a.m. in the Bullitt East Hooparama.

Nathaniel Bryan can be reached at 270-505-1758 or nbryan@thenewsenterprise.com