'Tis the season for holiday hoops tournaments.
No holiday tournament this week is bigger than the Shooting Touch Holiday Tournament at Emmanuel College on Thursday and Friday.
Once again, Hall of Fame coach Bob Hurley Sr. has brought his famed St. Anthony’s team to the tournament. St. Anthony's will play Brighton High, which lost in the Division 2 state tournament last spring, at 5 p.m. on Thursday before New Mission plays Christ the King at 7 p.m.
St. Anthony's played New Mission last year in the tournament.
“Well, we didn’t get to play [in the tournament] last year and we got called to play in it this year, which is an honor,” Brighton coach Hugh Coleman said. “I think that we were recognized for our success last year and we are honored to be thought of.
“St. Anthony’s and coach Hurley is a well-known program and pretty famous in the basketball world. We know that we have a big game ahead of us and a lot to overcome. We already feel the pressure because they have such a well-known established program, but we are very much up to the challenge. It will be a good indicator for us to see how our kids match up against kids from other states. I think it’s a great opportunity for our kids.”
All tournament proceeds go to The Shooting Touch Sabbatical Program, which grants graduating college seniors the opportunity to partake in a 10-month international work program using basketball to foster education and influence positive social change in third world communities.
Coach Hurley will also conduct a free coaching clinic for coaches in Boston on Saturday at the Shelburne Community Center (2730 Washington St.) in Roxbury from 9 to 11 a.m. To attend the clinic, RSVP to Brad Schoonmaker at email@example.com
The clinic is sponsored by the Boston Scholar Athletes Program, Boston public schools and The Shooting Touch.
“It’s open to all boys and girls coaches and athletic coordinators at [Boston Public] schools,” BSA Executive Athletic Director Chris Rooks said. “There are going to be a number of folks there trying to learn from him.”
Rooks said the first half of the clinic will be about coaching at-risk youth, while the second half will be about basketball skills and strategy.
“I think it’s going to be a great event,” he said. “It’s a partnership we started with Shooting Touch this year and in the future we hope to grow this partnership for the benefit of the scholar athletes who participate in athletics in BPS and also for our coaches.”
O’Bryant girls’ basketball coach Trudy Fisher said she’s not sure if she can attend the Hurley clinic because her team, along with Brighton, Fenway, and New Mission, are playing in the Shelburne Holiday Tournament, also at the Shelburne Center.
“He’s awesome, unbelievable,” she said of Hurley. “You look at him and get power. I would love to go. That’s an opportunity you don’t want to miss because people like him don’t always come through. So I probably will be there.”
One of Fisher’s best players, Raven Kelsey, said the Shelburne tournament will be a good chance to play teams from out of the city.
“That will be great for us because when we go to states it will give us experience playing competition outside the city,” she said. “That will prepare us for states.”
Another good holiday matchup to catch will be East Boston and Everett in the BABC Classic at Chelsea High on Friday.
While other city league teams will be playing in the Malden Tournament, the Marion Holiday and the Marshfield Holiday Tournament, not every BPS hoops coach will be taking their teams to holiday tournaments this week. Some coaches see the week as an opportunity to bone up on the basics before the city league schedule picks up again after the holiday break.
Teams such as Charlestown's boys’ squad and Latin Academy’s girls’ team will be holding practice over the break but not playing any games.
“[It’s a chance to] get our stuff together,” Latin Academy's Catherine Loney said, “come back and play hard the rest of the season.”
Globe Correspondent Mary Pavlu contributed to this story.
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- Justin A. Rice -- A metro Detroit native, Rice is a Michigan State University (Go Spartans!) and Northeastern University graduate. Rice lives in the South End with his dog and wife, who unfortunately attended the University of Michigan ... his wife, that is. He curates the BPS Sports Blog and is always looking to write about city athletes with great stories. Have an idea? He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.
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