By R. Alan Richardson
Morgan County’s basketball teams will again host the long-running Sweet South Classic Tournament next week on December 28th, 29th, and 30th. The 16 team field of eight boy’s and eight girls’ teams will feature some of the best competition the state has to offer. Take a look at the brackets in this week’s issue to see the teams that have been invited to the event. Both Head Coaches, Josh Reeves and Jamond Sims, agreed that they were looking forward to the high level of play that this year’s tournament brings to Morgan County High School.
The tournament history dates back to 2001 when then girls’ head coach Ron Thomas moved to Morgan County after a long stint at Brookwood High School. He told us, “The first year, in 2001, we played the entire tournament in the old high school gym and only had eight boys and girls teams, but we doubled it up the next year with 16 teams of each by utilizing the Morgan County Middle School. There were two brackets and we crowned four champions. In 2004 we brought in Social Circle, Oconee County, and Oconee Middle Schools and expanded to 80 teams. At the time it was the second largest tournament in the country next to the Nike Tour of Champions. We had teams from at least six different states playing.”
The monster that the tournament became has since been toned back, but the goals that Thomas set out to accomplish are still imperative to the Madison-Morgan community. “Our goals in the beginning were to showcase Madison and Morgan County while bringing business to our area. We also wanted to showcase high school basketball in Georgia as well as do something that was good for basketball and something special for our kids. The other thing was to show that a little town like ours could do something big and do it with class. There were hundreds of people involved at the time. It was a challenge, fun, and a success we all enjoyed.”
The Sweet South Classic lives on with fewer teams but with the same successful atmosphere. We’re just glad that MCHS is still a place where teams can come together for some great competition and sportsmanship. Both Morgan teams will definitely be in the conversation when it comes to championship bracket trophy time.