Shelby County teams upset in Tenaha's Holiday Hoops tourney

Holiday Hoops draws huge crowds

The Tenth Annual Tenaha Holiday Hoops Tournament has grown year over year becoming one of the biggest holiday basketball tournaments in East Texas.

During the boys’ championship game, Tenaha reports that 1,300 people were crammed into the Special Events Center. 22 teams made the trip to Tenaha to compete against some of the best teams in our area. Ten of those teams are currently ranked within the top 20 in the state for 1A and 2A teams. Unfortunately for two Shelby County teams, the tournament would close with a pair of upsets.

No. 5 Tenaha faced off against No. 10 Big Sandy for the honor of third place. Two top 10 teams meeting in the third-place game truly speaks to the level of competition that was had during the Holiday Hoops Tournament.

Unfortunately for the home-team Tigers, the Big Sandy Wildcats proved to be too much for them. The Tigers trailed throughout this game, which should come as a surprise based on ranking alone.

At one point the Tigers had the lead trimmed to one point, but after everything was said and done, the Wildcats would come out victorious with a final score of 79-52. It would be unfair not to mention Hayden Jenkins of Tenaha’s performance from beyond the three-point line. Jenkins is clearly comfortable within the walls of the SEC in Tenaha.

The main event from the boys’ bracket was an unheard-of matchup between two No. 1 ranked teams. Shelbyville made a name for themselves last year by traveling all the way to the state tournament before being eliminated from the semi-finals only one game away from a state championship game.

After losing only a small number of seniors following that state tournament berth, the Dragons have been on the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches’ (TABC) radar earning their No. 1 ranking for 2A basketball teams.

The Lipan Indians have become synonymous with the Tenaha Holiday Hoops Tournament by winning the tournament each of the last three years. This year marks the fourth year in a row that they have found themselves in the championship game.

Lipan has dominated Texas 1A basketball over the past two years by winning back to back state championships, and all signs point to them making yet another trip to the Alamo Dome in March.

Given Lipan’s pedigree it seems odd to qualify their win over Shelbyville as an upset, but with Shelbyville being No. 1 in the larger division, I would have given them the nod over the 1A Indians prior to this matchup.

Ultimately, the first quarter of this championship ball game told the tale. Senior Layton Sharp of Lipan came into this game shooting lights-out. Sharp drained five threes all in the first quarter. His phenomenal first quarter performance would cement his position as Tournament MVP.

“They came out and made a lot of shots to start with, and we didn’t. That was the difference. The first quarter was the difference. After that, we battled back and outscored them the rest of the game, but very similar to last year’s state tournament game [with West Texas], they just jumped out early on us.” Shelbyville head basketball coach David Schmitt said following the loss.

Despite big performances from senior Cole Ferguson and junior Jay Buckley, the Dragons were unable to recover from the deficit they found themselves in following the first quarter. Both Ferguson and Buckley would earn All-Tournament Honors following the championship game.

Sharp’s excellent shooting from the first quarter was stymied by the Dragons in the second half. Kurtrick Allen of Shelbyville did an excellent job of defending the tournament MVP holding him to only five points for the entirety of the second half.


Check out photo gallery from the game by clicking here: