NAPLES — In its 14 years, the Holiday Shootout has increased the quality of teams to evolve into one of the best high school girls basketball tournaments around. This year the Shootout also will increase the quantity of teams.
The tournament, now known as the Naples Holiday Shootout presented by Arthrex, has added six teams who will play in a round-robin tournament in addition to the main draw. The Beach Bash Games feature five teams from Southwest Florida and one from Fort Lauderdale.
The Shootout, which is Dec. 26-29 at Barron Collier High School, will feature 10 games a day on the first three days and nine games on the final day. Games will start at 8 a.m., and the last tipoff of the day will be at 9:30 p.m.
A year after the Shootout fielded its most talented group of teams, B.A. Crawford thinks he’s outdone himself once again. Crawford, in charge of recruiting teams from around the country for the event, has brought in 16 teams from 11 states in this year’s main draw, announced this week.
The Shootout includes four state champions and one state runner-up. All 16 teams won at least 21 games last season. Defending Shootout champion Chicago-Whitney Young returns after finishing last season ranked No. 2 nationally by USA Today.
Two local teams will play in the main tournament, down from three or four in recent years. Host Barron Collier has been in every Shootout, winning the title in 2008, while First Baptist is included for the first time.
Lely, St. John Neumann, Estero, Fort Myers, Cape Coral-Island Coast and Fort Lauderdale-St. Thomas Aquinas are in the Beach Bash. Each team will play three games against other Beach Bash team throughout the week.
Crawford modeled the Beach Bash Games after the Signature Series at the City of Palms. The famed boys tournament in Fort Myers created the four-team Signature Series a few years ago to supplement the main draw and give more teams a chance to play.
The Shootout also will be filled with individual talent. This year’s field features 14 players committed to NCAA Division I colleges, three of whom played for the U.S. national team this past summer.
Since the Shootout started in 1999, 17 players whose teams have been in the event have gone on to play in the McDonald’s All-American Game, including three from last year’s field.
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THE NAPLES HOLIDAY SHOOTOUT PRESENTED BY ARTHREX
At Barron Collier High School
Palm Beach Gardens-Dwyer
Johnson City (Tenn.)-Science Hill
Springfield (Pa.)-Cardinal O’Hara
New Orleans-Warren Easton Charter
Shaker Heights (Ohio)-Hathaway Brown
Suwanee (Ga.)-North Gwinnett
Birmingham (Ala.)-Center Pointe
Owings Mills (Md.)-McDonogh
Beach Bash teams
St. John Neumann
Cape Coral-Island Coast
Fort Lauderdale-St. Thomas Aquinas.