Kits hit the road for Christmas tourney


Senior Trevon Marshall drives a Niles West player in the Kits’ 61-26 win over the Wolves. Photo by Jada Marriott

Holiday hoops.

Boys basketball travels to Fairdale, KY tonight for the annual King of the Bluegrass Holiday Classic, where they will play some of the nation’s top high school teams in front of college coaches.

“There will be probably be up to about 100 Division 1 coaches visiting in and out depending on the day,” said coach Mike Ellis. “There will also be representatives of McDonald’s All American selections.”

The field includes 16 teams. 12 are from Kentucky. 11 of those are ranked in the top 25 of the state, according to Kentucky Prep Hoops.

The boys will open the tournament tomorrow at 9 p.m. against Florida powerhouse Miami Senior High School, who has won 18 state championships, the most in Florida history.

The Stings haven’t won a championship since 2005, but things are changing with junior Zach Brown transferring to Miami High. According to ESPN 60 rankings, the 7’ 260 pound center is the eighteenth best player in the nation for the 2017 recruiting class.

The Kits are looking forward to the challenge and they believe it’ll bring them closer as a unit.

“We will be tested and if we want to win, we all have to come together as one and be on the same page,” said junior Malik Jenkins.

If the Kits advance to the second round of the tournament, they will face the winner of Gainesville (GA) versus Brentwood Academy (TN).

Brentwood features two all state players, one of them being 5’9 point guard Darius Garland, a five star recruit in the 2018 recruiting class.

“We just have to stay focused and stick to our game plan,” said junior Elyjah Williams. If we let the hype get to our heads we’ll really struggle,”
“The bottom line is for great team chemistry you have to have great relationships,” Ellis explained. “It’s more than putting the ball in the basket. This is the kind of trip to do those things for us.”

The Kits got a taste of the type of talent they’ll see over the holidays in their 71-59 loss to top-ranked Morgan Park on Dec. 5. The Kits were never able to grab the momentum in the game, with the team giving up 20 turnovers.

The boys come into Holiday Classic with a 6-1 record—and a ninth place ranking in Illinois according to Mike Helfgot of the Chicago Tribune.