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Coal City Thanksgiving Tournament offers a respite to fans

A swift divergence.

That’s what the Coal City Thanksgiving Tournament has to offer people in the area who have been affected by Sunday’s tornado that hit the area.

“First of all, it’s tough right now to talk about a basketball game or tournament knowing what some families in the Coal City and Gardner areas are going through,” Morris coach Joe Blumberg said. “[Coal City coach] Brad [Boresi] said that some of his guys were affected by the tornado. If anything, hopefully a basketball practice or a few games can take their minds off of what has unfortunately happened.”

On Wednesday, Boresi echoed similar sentiments.

“Obviously there are more important things going on right now than basketball,” Boresi said. “I know there are a couple of players on the team who lost their houses in the storm. But I think them coming to practice and by playing the game that it will help take their minds off the situation a bit.”

Not to mention the rest of the community whose friends and families may need the chance to focus on something other than clean up and rebuilding efforts.

The Coal City Thanksgiving Basketball Tournament is once again a varsity and frosh-soph event. On Tuesday, Friday and Nov. 30, there will be two games each night in the round-robin style tournament. At it’s essence will be true quality competition between three local teams – Coal City, Morris and Gardner-South Wilmington and nearby Serena. Serena replaces St. Bede this year. St. Bede had won the tournament three years in a row.

“We love the format. At some tournaments, you play Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday... It’s great to have a practice after the first game to work on things, and this tourney allows us to do so,” Blumberg said. “We love the fact that we don’t have to travel far but are able to play two teams we won’t see again on our schedule.”

Boresi also said one of the nice things about opening with their home tournament is the fact there is no travel involved for either their players or fans.

“Hosting our Thanksgiving tournament is nice because we don’t have to travel,” he said. “However, it has not been very kind to us the past three years. We need to make sure that we play well the first three games and get off to a good start.”

GSW is coming into the tournament for the first time under head coach Chris Gibson – a Coal City graduate.

“The Coal City tournament is a great challenge and we are excited to be a part of this,” Gibson said.

Morris and GSW open the varsity tournament at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday with Serena and Coal City playing afterward. Morris plays Serena at 5:30 p.m. Friday, and Coal City and GSW meet right after. GSW plays Serena at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 30, and Morris and Coal City play right after that.

The Coal City vs. Morris game will be a rematch of last year’s regional championship game won by the Coalers.

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