By Chris Parsons
The Corbin Redhounds, along with five other teams, will have a chance to work off those holiday meals starting today at 6 p.m. when the 26th Annual Cumberland Falls Invitational Tournament begins at Corbin High School.
The structure of the tournament is a little different than it has been in the past, starting with pool play followed by the winner of each pool facing off for the tournament championship on Saturday.
The field consists of three local teams, Corbin, Barbourville and Jackson County, while three out of state teams, Union County and Easley High Schools, both of which are from South Carolina, and Farragut, Tenn., will pay Corbin a visit during play.
Corbin coach Tony Pietrowski said he looks forward the Cumberland Falls Invitational Tournament and the atmosphere that surrounds it.
“I always enjoy this time of year and the level of competition the Cumberland Falls Invitational Tournament brings,” he said. “I think this year’s tournament has a great mix of local and out of state teams, so this should be a great tournament.”
Pool A will consist of Corbin, Farragut and Union County while Pool B will have Barbourville, Jackson County and Easley.
As for the level of competition in this year’s tournament, Cumberland Falls Invitational Tournament Director Benny Hinkle said the field is solid, but admitted it’s not to the level he would like it to be.
“Easley is by far the best team that I saw on paper,” he said. “They lost to Gaffney in the state tournament last year by three points and Gaffney went on to win the state tournament. Easley played them closer than any other team in the state did.
“It’s really not as good as I’d like the field to be, but I didn’t recruit any of these teams myself,” he added. “These teams were already recruited before I took the tournament over.”
In addition to the regularly scheduled games, there will be a three-point shooting contest on Thursday, Dec. 27 between the first and second game, as well as a slam-dunk competition on Friday, Dec. 28.
The championship game, as well as the second and third place games, will be played on Saturday, Dec. 29 starting at 5:30 p.m.
Hinkle also wanted to point out that ticket prices have been lowered in an attempt to boost attendance.
“We want the gym to be full, so we decided to lower ticket prices,” Hinkle said. “We’ve dropped regular prices to $5 each and student ticket prices are $3 each.
“You can also purchase a tournament pass that will allow you to get into every game for $20,” he added. “When you buy that pass, it will save you $5 compared to buying tickets each night. Hopefully this will allow fans to get in there and watch the game at an affordable price.”
Hinkle noted the scheduled time for the championship game could change. The schedule is as follows:
6 p.m. – Barbourville vs. Jackson Co.
8 p.m. – Corbin vs. Farragut
Thursday, Dec. 27
6 p.m. – Farragut, Tenn. vs. Union Co.
8 p.m. – Barbourville vs. Easley
Friday, Dec. 28
6 p.m. – Jackson Co. vs. Easley
Slam Dunk Contest
8 p.m. – Corbin vs. Union Co.
Saturday, Dec. 29
5:30 p.m. – 3A vs. 3B
7:15 p.m. – 2A vs. 2B
8:45 p.m. – 1A vs. 1B
Pool A – Corbin, Farragut and Union County
Pool B – Barbourville, Jackson County and Easley