Panthers, Eagles top seeds in county tourney

Chelsea Machleit and the Hokes Bluff Lady Eagles are the top seed in the Etowah County Basketball Tournament starting Monday (Jan. 13) at Gadsden State. Chelsea Machleit and the Hokes Bluff Lady Eagles are the top seed in the Etowah County Basketball Tournament starting Monday (Jan. 13) at Gadsden State.

By Gene Stanley/Sports Correspondent

The 2013-14 Etowah County Basketball Tournament starts Monday, Jan. 13, at Gadsden State Community College.

“I love that it is again at Gadsden State,” Southside High boys basketball coach Chad Holderfield said. “It was held there until my 10th-grade year, then they put it back on campus. Playing on this floor (Gadsden State) makes it so much more special for the kids.

“It’s a good, neutral site and is central to the county. There’s not nearly as much excitement when the tournament is played on campus.”

Action starts every night at 6 p.m. with a girls game. The first game will be Sardis vs. Gaston, followed by the boys of Hokes Bluff and Glencoe. The championships will be held Friday, Jan. 17.

Southside is defending champion of the boys tournament and the No. 1 seed. Sardis is No. 2 seed.

The top two seeds were determined by record and voting. The other four seeds were drawn from a hat.

“Getting the bye is the only thing really positive about being a top seed,” Holderfield said. “And the seeds don’t decide the championship. That is done on the floor.”

Holderfield said that his team doesn’t change anything for the tournament.

“We go in with the mindset to do what we do and try to win, to give us a chance to advance,” he said.

Hokes Bluff won the girls tournament in 2013.

“We approach the tournament the same way, if we are defending champions or not,” Eagles coach Jason Shields said. “You have to go into it with the mindset of wanting to win it and there’s not really any difference if you won it or finished last, last year.”

Hokes Bluff is the No. 1 seed, with Glencoe at No. 2. Those two teams will have a first-round bye.

“Sometimes it’s better to have the bye and sometimes it’s better to play the first round,” Shields said. “Since it’s at a neutral site where we haven’t played, it can be better to get that game in, to be more used to the surroundings. But with a bye, you get a couple more days of practice.”

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