LOOGOOTEE — Fans got a little more focused view of the 2019 Old National Bank Holiday Classic on Wednesday as coaches, athletic directors and area media personnel were a part of the annual draw held at Stoll’s Lakeview in Loogootee.
The Holiday Classic has become one of the state’s most popular smaller school tourneys and has featured numerous state champions and finalists over the tourney’s 14-year run.
This year’s field of teams includes Barr-Reeve, Brownstown Central, Loogootee, host North Daviess and South Knox, along with new teams — Blackford, Rushville and Southridge, who had been a previous participant. This year fan interest will be especially high as several of the state’s top juniors will be in attendance including Southridge’s Colson Montgomery and Blackford’s Luke Brown. Brown was the state’s leading scorer, getting 36 points a game last season.
“We can’t be more pleased with what this has become. With the local flavor we have, like an old sectional, and then some of the great teams and players we have brought in, it has grown into what we had hoped it would. We have had applications from teams from all over the state. We are not just looking for teams that will bring good crowds, but teams that fans will really enjoy seeing,” said North Daviess coach and Athletic Director Brent Dalrymple. “We had this with Blackhawk, where people really wanted to see a team of that caliber play, and should be the case with Montgomery and Brown.”
Although times have not yet been set, the first four games were drawn out with help of ONB management. Barr-Reeve will open play with Brownstown Central, while Blackford and Southridge will also meet. Host North Daviess will take on South Knox, while Rushville and Loogootee were the final two teams drawn.
“This is a great tourney for us, but I think it is even better for the fans,” said B-R coach Josh Thompson. “If I were just a fan, I would love to see the mix of teams and players you are going to see in this tourney. There are three really good teams coming in that should mix with the other five. We have a lot of really good tournaments that we are in this year. I think playing that kind of competition in the first half of the year should help us get ready for the (IHSAA) tourney.”
Local teams should be very strong as well this year. Barr-Reeve comes back to the tourney as the 2019 Class A runner-up. They will feature University of Indianapolis recruit Keegan O’Neill, and possibly Curt Hopf, pending an IHSAA eligible appeal ruling. North Daviess will have a great shooting team with Kirk Wagler, Trevor Riggins and Jack Townsend. Loogootee returns with a new coach, Ryan Haywood, formally of Princeton, and Silas Bauer, one of the area’s best inside-outside threat.
Tournament dates this year for the ONB Classic are Monday, Dec. 23, and Friday-Saturday, Dec. 27-28 at North Daviess High School.