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The Harry Johnson Holiday Classic returns this year and will feature eight high school basketball boys’ teams, three high school girls’ teams, and three middle school boys’ teams competing over three days — Monday, Dec. 27, Tuesday, Dec. 28, and Wednesday, Dec. 29 — at the George Washington High School gymnasium.
Because of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, seating capacity will be limited. Masks are required for everyone except for players and officials.
“For a short period, we were unsure how sports would continue, although we had a desire to showcase our youth’s talent while keeping safety as our top priority,” Mayor Alonzo Jones said. “It may not quite look the same, but I hope athletes, family and fans can see the love your community leaders have for you. I am honored to be part of bringing back this event.”
The tournament, which was not held last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, honors the late Harry Johnson, who coached the GW boys’ team for 19 years and led them to a state championship in 1996.
The boys’ teams will play in a traditional tournament-style format that will include rivals GW, Dan River, Gretna, and Tunstall. They are joined by Westover Christian Academy, Green Run (Virginia Beach), Carlisle (Martinsville), and Norfolk Academy. They will play at 1 p.m., 3 p.m., 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. each day.
The girls’ teams are GW, Tunstall, and Gretna. They will play in a round-robin format, with games at 11 a.m. each day.
For the first time, the tournament will feature middle school boys’ games. The teams are Bonner, Westwood, and Laurel Park. They will play in a round-robin format, with games at 10 a.m. each day.
There will be two sessions each day — day and evening. The day sessions offer four games, with start times at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m. The cost of admission for each day session is $8. The ticket office opens at 9 a.m.
Following the day sessions, the gym will be cleared for the evening sessions, with games at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. The cost of admission for each evening session is $10. The ticket office opens at 5 p.m.
Green Run is the top seed among the boys’ teams, followed by (2) GW, (3) Dan River, (4) Tunstall, (5) Westover Christian Academy, (6) Norfolk Academy, (7) Gretna, and (8) Carlisle.
The opening matchups on Monday have the Bonner boys facing Laurel Park at 10 a.m. and the GW girls facing Tunstall at 11 a.m. The varsity boys’ teams take the court that afternoon and feature Tunstall vs. Westover at 1 p.m. and Dan River vs. Norfolk Academy at 3 p.m.
On Monday evening, Green Run plays Carlisle at 6 p.m., and GW clashes with Gretna at 8 p.m.
On Tuesday, the Westwood boys will play Laurel Park at 10 a.m., followed by the Tunstall girls vs. Gretna at 11 a.m., and the varsity boys’ loser bracket games at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.
Varsity boys’ winner bracket games will be played on Tuesday evening at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.
On Wednesday, the Bonner and Westwood boys will square off at 10 a.m., followed by the GW girls vs. Gretna at 11 a.m., and the varsity boys’ loser bracket games at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.
The third-place game among the varsity boys will be played at 6 p.m. Wednesday, followed by the championship game at 8 p.m.