BRISTOL, Tenn. (WJHL) – One of the region’s most prestigious basketball tournaments is turning 40 this December. On Sunday, the competing teams learned their First Round matchups.
Arby’s Classic Tournament organizers and a handful of local coaches gathered inside the Arby’s dining room on West State Street, as this year’s field was solidified.
Five area squads – Tennessee High, Dobyns-Bennett, Greeneville, Daniel Boone and Sullivan East – will all participate in the event. Other regional schools, such as George Wythe, Oak Ridge and Maryville, will also take the floor in Viking Hall.
Tournament director, Richard Ensor, says the 2023 field may not have the star power of those in recent year’s. However, he thinks the competition could be at an all-time high.
“Great teams,” he said. “The teams are overall probably better than teams than we’ve had.”
“It’s exciting – Coach Ensor does a good job every year getting great teams in it,” Tennessee High head coach Michael McMeans said. “So I mean, there’s there’s never, like he said – you’re just not going to get a good draw ever in the first round.”
Sullivan East head coach Dillon Faver said he kept the team’s entry into the tournament a secret for as long as he could. When he finally told his players how they’d be spending their holiday break, the locker room erupted.
“These guys grow up watching the Arby’s classic and sitting in the stands and watching these guys play, and it’s really cool to see them and for them to be a part of this,” he said.
The first game of the 40th Arby’s Classic between Tabernacle (Bahamas) and Tennessee High is set for 1 p.m. on Tuesday, December 26.
For a full look at the bracket, click here.