Williams brings city teams back for an east side tourney

December 28, 1992|By Derek Toney | Derek Toney,Contributing Writer

In December 1987, the Poet-Laker Tournament took place a Lake Clifton for the final time. There hasn't been a tournament featuring city schools on the east side of Baltimore since.

That will change when the Mervo Holiday Hoop Festival tips off tomorrow morning.

No. 2 Lake Clifton, No. 8 Southwestern, Carver, Northwestern, Douglass, Patterson, City and Mervo make up the field for the tournament, which will conclude New Year's Eve afternoon.

"This is a worthwhile endeavor for all the parties involved," said Mervo coach Woody Williams. "Win, lose or draw, each team will get a chance to play three games. It would have been boring just practicing during the holiday and getting right into league play after school reopens."

The tournament is an extension of the Baltimore Metro Invitational, held at Southwestern last Christmas holiday, which included Southwestern, Mervo, Northwestern and Patterson.

The Mervo Holiday Hoop Festival has a special meaning for Williams, who is also the school's athletic director. He and former Dunbar and University of Maryland coach Bob Wade helped put together the Poet-Laker Tournament, which ran from 1979 to 1987 and became the traditional tip-off of the city basketball season, featuring the city's top teams.

"I guess it goes without saying that it does feel good," said Williams, who coached at Lake Clifton from 1971 to 1986 before joining Wade as an administrative assistant at Maryland until 1989. "For the most part, this involves the teams with the exception of Dunbar that made the Poet-Laker a success."

The Mervo Holiday Hoop Festival is one of a number of holiday tournaments involving area teams.

With its 57-game winning streak in the past, No. 1 Dunbar returns to the court in Altoona, Pa., for the Altoona Classic Mixer, where it will play Cardinal O'Hara (Pa.) tonight and Bishop Walsh of Allegany County tomorrow night.

No. 5 Towson Catholic will be participating in the Largo High Tournament, opening against McKinley Tech of Washington tomorrow evening. No. 6 Cardinal Gibbons will be playing Salem (Va.) today, in an opening-round game of the Norfolk (Va.) Catholic High Tournament.

No. 9 Calvert Hall will be also in Virginia, in the eight-team Benedictine Capital City Classic in Richmond, where it will open with John Marshall (Va.) tonight.

The Wes Unseld Holiday Basketball Tournament at Catonsville Community College will feature No. 10 Woodlawn, defending champion and No. 11 Loyola, No. 12 Edmondson and No. 13 Broadneck, which until last season had won the previous four tournament titles.

For the second straight season, Perry Hall, ranked No. 19, will be the host school for the Baltimore County Invitational. Essex Community College had been the previous home for the tournament, but this season, the Holly & Hoops girls tournament is being played there.

The highlight could be a matchup tomorrow in the Gold Division between Class 3A champion and No. 14 Catonsville and Class 1A titlist and No. 17 Milford Mill.

The Gilman Alumni Tournament will feature Gilman, McDonogh, Haverford (Pa.) and Lawrenceville (N.J.). Loch Raven, Dulaney, Hereford and John Carroll will meet in the Dulaney Invitational.

While the Holly & Hoops is the main attraction on the girls holiday basketball schedule, the Poly Classic will have teams from the Baltimore and Washington areas. Milford Mill, Poly, Patterson and Edgewood along with Prince George's Surrattsville, Largo and Central and Washington's Ballou, will start play today.

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