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Forsyth County basketball teams participate in holiday tournaments
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North Forsyth boys basketball is still searching for its first win of the season and hoping a few days in the Pickens County Classic tournament will be just what the Raiders need. - photo by David McGregor

Most of Forsyth County’s high school basketball programs have been partaking in holiday tournaments throughout winter break—some competing right in their backyards, others travelling as far as Alabama and Florida.

These events provide teams the chance to play in competitive environments with no bearing on their region records. For some clubs, including the North Forsyth boys, it can also be a way to turn a disappointing season around.

North, which has lost all 10 of its games thus far, feels it’s close to righting the ship even if the box scores may not agree. While the Raiders have yet to earn a single win this year, they’ve remained competitive in many of their games — holding fourth quarter leads in – of their 10 losses and losing twice on last-second shots.

Head coach Brian Moon believes his boys are on the verge of making some major improvement, and the Pickens Holiday Classic—which they will compete in from Dec. 26-28—may be the right place to start fresh.

"This week is a good chance for us to turn our season around," said Moon. "We’re struggling, and we can’t seem to finish games."

North’s boys and girls will compete in the Pickens Holiday Classic, as will Lambert’s boys.

"There’s a little more at stake at Pickens," Moon added, "so I’m hoping the boys play as hard as they can and get a lot out of it."

These tournaments are also a great time for teams to build chemistry. Being on the road together can be extremely beneficial, especially for those who make long treks out of state.

The West Forsyth boys, for example, rode a bus more than 350 miles to Pensacola, Fla., for the Pensacola Holiday Tournament, which will go from Dec. 26-28.

"It’s a wonderful bonding opportunity," said West head coach Jim Cook, who is travelling more than 12 hours round-trip with his team. "The kids are on break and don’t have any school to worry about. Now they’ll just be around the team and worry about basketball.

"To get away and eat together, share rooms together, take the bus ride together — it’s great for us."

While the West boys are enjoying time on the road, the West girls have the luxury of playing their holiday games from home, as they will host the annual Wolverine Winter Classic from Dec. 27-30.

The Central boys and girls will stay close to home, as well, and will take part in the Commerce Tournament in Commerce, Ga., from Dec. 27-28.

South Forsyth got an early start on their tournament play when both its teams travelled to Fort Payne, Ala., for the Wills Valley Shootout, which was held Dec. 19-21.

The South boys fell in their first game of the tourney to Sacred Heart Catholic, 53-34. The Lady War Eagles fared better, winning two of their three match-ups, including a 59-19 blowout over Pope John Paul II High School.

The Lambert girls have also journeyed to Alabama and will participate in the Big Orange Classic in Hoover from Dec. 26-28. Having lost four of their last five, this tournament came at a great time for the Lady Longhorns.