North Cobb Christian, a contender to win the Class A state championship, is among the eight-team bracket, along with Region 4AAAAAA rivals North Cobb and Harrison. Pope, which is off to a strong 8-2 start, will join them along with North Paulding, Cartersville and Carrollton.
These are the type of teams the Buccaneers are looking in preparation for the January-portion of their schedule.
“We’ve had some strong fields but this may be the strongest field we’ve had,” Allatoona coach Markus Hood said. “That’s what we want to build at the Lake City Classic. That’s the way we want this tournament to be. People will be missing out if they don’t watch this one.”
Allatoona will open against Harrison on Friday. The Hoyas looking to break a four-game losing streak after a strong start.
North Cobb Christian, which is anchored three future Division I players in Stephon Jelks, Kendall Crute and Hunter Ware, will face Allatoona’s Region 5AAAAA rival North Paulding.
North Cobb, which made the Class AAAAAA state semifinals last season, will face Carrollton. The Warriors have won four of their last five games after a sluggish start.
Pope (8-2) has played well to start the year but is expecting a challenging opener against Cartersville (8-1).
In the girls bracket, Sprayberry is the only other Cobb team the Lady Buccaneers brought in, but the remaining squads are relatively close by and competitive. Chestatee, a regular attendant since the Lake City Classic was launched, will be returning. Roswell, Hiram, East Paulding, South Gwinnett and New Manchester round out the bracket.
Allatoona is a younger team this season after winning 5AAAAA last season and making it to the second round of the state tournament.
The Lady Buccaneers lost point guard JaNoah Daniels for the year with a torn ACL and has five freshman on an 11-player roster, but the Lady Buccaneers are sitting with a 4-2 record going into the tournament.
“They’re holding their own and learning a little every day,” Allatoona coach Michael Taylor said. “It’s been trial-by-fire right off the bat. What I like is that they get out and play and have fun.”
Campbell’s Holiday Classic will get started Thursday. The girls will play an eight-team bracket championship while the boys play round robin games with only six teams coming.
The Lady Spartans (8-2) will open against Tri Cities on Thursday. East Cobb teams Kell and Walton are also in the draw, along with Douglas County, Chamblee, Tri Cities, Richmond Academy and Stone Mountain.
“It’s a real good, competitive field,” Campbell coach Randy McClure said. “We got five teams in there that can win it and that’s what you want to make you better”.