Only four local team — Frenship, Monterey, Coronado and Lubbock High — will compete in this weekend’s Gene Messer Shootout at Frenship’s Tiger Pit.
But that’s not necessarily a bad things, tournament director and Tigers head coach Jason Dear said.
“To have 12 out-of-town teams I think says a lot,” Dear said. “I think it’s a good thing because we play the local schools so much especially in the fall and summer time, so the kids are really good friends with each them and know their style of play and what they’re going to do. You go to these tournaments and it’s a lot different because each team is different and somebody you’ve never seen play, so you’ve got to learn to adjust. The kids have got to adjust in the game and the coaches have to adjust to the games as well.”
There will be plenty of room for the local teams to adjust this weekend with three El Paso teams and three Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex teams in the 16-team tournament along with regional foes Abilene, Abilene Cooper, Odessa, Palo Duro and Dumas plus Cleveland, N.M.
Southlake Carroll is the defending tournament champion and in the same bracket with a Lubbock High team that improved to 2-3 Tuesday with a 10-point win over Seminole.
Head coach Jesus Arenas said the team is finally beginning to play not only with success but with the correct style and direction he’s been seeking since the first of the season.
“We’ve won two of our last three and are finally starting to do things right,” Arenas said. “We’re running the press correctly, running the system. They’re young but they’re beginning to understand that doing things the way we want is going to help us.”
Both Arenas and Monterey head coach David Chapman said one thing they are looking for from the tournament is consistency.
The Plainsmen, after dropping their season opener to Coronado, have won three of their last four despite returning just two part-time varisty players at the beginning of the season. Chapman said the team is still struggling to score and committing way too many turnovers, something he hopes to see begin to turn around this weekend.
“Every year we’ve gone to this tournament since I’ve been a head coach it’s been good for us and our teams have jelled from this and gotten better from it,” Chapman said “The big thing for us is maturity and turnovers. We’ll use the tournament to work on that. We talk about mental toughness and sometimes we get up and let teams come back into the game and don’t put them away. It’s a momentum thing.”
Frenship, meanwhile, has gotten off to a solid 3-1 start despite losing 10 seniors and junior Michael Grant to a transfer from a team that reached the Class 4A regional semifinals.
Dear said the younger players have done a good job of coming in and contributing early and often.
“I’ve been really pleased,” Dear said. “We’ve got some young kids that have never had any varsity experience stepping up and playing hard, and the three we do have returning have been great leaders and doing a good job of showing the younger guys what it takes to win.”
In addition to Southlake Carroll, Coronado, Monterey, Palo Duro (three times) and Frenship (five times) are all returning tournament champion.
The tournament tips off today at 10 a.m. and runs through Saturday, with the championship game scheduled for 4:30 p.m.
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GENE MESSER SHOOTOUT
all games at Frenship’s Tiger Pit unless otherwise noted
Game 1: El Paso Irvin vs. Frenship, 10 a.m.
Game 2: El Paso El Dorado vs. Palo Duro, 11:30 a.m.
Game 3: Abilene Cooper vs. Dumas, 1 p.m.
Game 4: Lubbock High vs. Cleveland, 2:30 p.m.
Game 5: Southlake Carroll vs. Abilene, 4 p.m.
Game 6: Hurst L.D. Bell vs. Monterey, 5:30 p.m.
Game 7: El Paso Chapin vs. Coronado, 7 p.m.
Game 8: Trophy Club Byron Nelson vs. Odessa, 8:30 p.m.
at New Gym
Game 10: Game 2 loser vs. Game 5 loser, 10 a.m.
Game 12: Game 7 loser vs. Game 4 loser, 11:30 a.m.
Game 14: Game 3 loser vs. Game 1 loser, 1 p.m.
Game 16: Game 8 loser vs. Game 6 loser, 2:30 p.m.
Game 20: Game 16 winner vs. Game 14 winner, 8:30 p.m.
at Tiger Pit
Game 17: Game 12 winner vs. Game 10 winner, 5:30 p.m.
Game 9: Game 3 winner vs. Game 1 winner, 10 a.m.
Game 11: Game 2 winner vs. Game 5 winner, 11:30 a.m.
Game 13: Game 8 winner vs. Game 6 winner, 1 p.m.
Game 15: Game 7 winner vs. Game 4 winner, 2:30 p.m.
Game 18: Game 13 winner vs. Game 9 winner, 7 p.m.
Game 19: Game 15 winner vs. Game 11 winner, 8:30 p.m.
at New Gym
Game 24: Game 12 loser vs. Game 10 loser, 10:30 a.m.
Game 26: Game 17 loser vs. Game 20 loser, Noon
at Tiger Pit
Game 23: Game 16 loser vs. Game 14 loser, 10:30 a.m.
Game 25: Game 17 winner vs. Game 20 winner, Noon
at New Gym
Game 22: Game 15 loser vs. Game 11 loser, 9 a.m.
at Tiger Pit
Game 21: Game 13 loser vs. Game 9 loser, 9 a.m.
Game 27: Game 22 winner vs. Game 21 winner, 1:30 p.m.
Game 28: Game 19 loser vs. Game 18 loser, 3 p.m.
Game 29: Game 19 winner vs. Game 18 winner, 4:30 p.m.