New venue, same tradition
HUNTINGTON -- For the first time in its 36-year history the CSX St. Joe Invitational basketball tournament began Wednesday at a location other than recently demolished Veterans Memorial Field House.
It definitely had a different feel as everyone from tournament coordinators to players and coaches got used to the new surroundings in Big Sandy Superstore Arena.
"We're happy to get it underway at the new place," St. Joe Invitational tournament director Tom Houvouras said.
"It's a little different, but it'll be nice when we get into a flow here."
However, at the end of the day, it still remains about two main components -- basketball and school skits.
Those two elements went off unscathed during Blue Bracket action Wednesday where Charleston Catholic and Wesley Christian from Allen, Ky., earned victories to move into Friday's championship game.
Keifer Hovorka scored 16 points and Nick George added 14 points to lead Charleston Catholic to a 67-28 win over Wayne in the first game. Alex Elkins had 15 for Wayne.
Joshua Amuzu scored 21 points to lead Wesley Christian past Huntington St. Joe, 58-55, in the nightcap. Michael Mayes led the Irish with 21 points and 13 rebounds.
Wayne will meet Huntington St. Joe in Friday's consolation at 7 p.m., which will take place after the Huntington St. Joe girls take on Eastern (Meigs) at 5 p.m.
In the SJI's first 35 years the Field House served as the tournament's home, and when it was demolished in spring 2012, there was some concern whether the tournament would be able to remain in existence.
Houvouras said he would not know the exact financial numbers until after the tournament's completion, but there was an increased cost associated with the tournament moving to the Big Sandy Superstore Arena.
However, he also noted the tournament is afforded a few more amenities with the move downtown.
"The thing we'll find out here is a good number of attendees here at Big Sandy over that at the Field House because we have a little more control here over who comes in and out," Houvouras said. "They (Big Sandy) are taking care of the ticket-takers so we'll get an actual number of people here."
The court being used is from the Field House. Big Sandy Superstore Arena purchased the court when the Field House was demolished.
There were a few condensation issues in the late game because of the heat of the players on the court and the cold concrete underneath, but other than a few slips, the games went off without any trouble.
Wayne and St. Joe performed their skits in between the games.
Middle school first-round games were also played. Terrell KImbro scored 14 and Brett Christian added 10 for the Enslow boys in a 30-27 defeat of Guyan Valley. Guyan Valley's girls beat Enslow, 38-24, with Rachel Pennington scoring 17. Josslyn Almonte scored 10 for Enslow.
WESLEY CHRISTIAN 17 13 14 14 -- 58: Caldwell 6, Thompson 9, Amuzu 21, Hall 6, Goble 13, Mosley 3.
HUNTINGTON ST. JOE 12 18 7 18 -- 55: Jenkins 3, McNeil 7, Mayes 27, Rabel 2, Dransfeld 12, Goheen 4.
WAYNE 10 1 12 5 -- 28: Egnor 2, Watts 5, Alex Elkins 15, Justice 1, Queen 2.
CHARLESTON CATHOLIC 14 17 21 15 -- 67: Godwin 8, McCarty 8, George 14, Casto 2, Hovorka 16, Hoyer 4, Miller 2, Tupta 6, McKown 5, Hurlihy 2.
GUYAN VALLEY 9 2 6 10 -- 27: G. Adkins 2, Kirkendall 11, Beckelheimer 3, A. Adkins 3, Scites 2, Sangregory 6.
ENSLOW 3 11 10 6 -- 30: Kimbro 14, Christian 10, Hairston 6.
GUYAN VALLEY 3 11 10 14 -- 38: H. Adkins 4, Baker 5, Blankenship 8,Wiley 4, Pennington 17.
ENSLOW 5 1 13 5 -- 24: Moore 3, Williamson 7, Pennington 2, Josslyn Almonte 10, Bunting 2.