Harlan County Extravaganza opens Monday with four out-of-state teams


By John Henson, Managing Editor

Traveling out of the county for holiday tournaments has been the norm among local basketball teams for decades.
The equation will flip on Monday as the Harlan County Extravaganza opens at Harlan County High School. The three-day tournament will include eight games and feature four teams from out of state, along with the Black Bears. It is believed to be the first tournament of this type in county history.
“The tournament itself has been a long time in the making and is designed to showcase the great facilities at Harlan County High School, as well as bring a much needed economic boost to the county during the holidays,” said Eugene Farmer, the athletic director at Harlan County High School. “For the first 13 years of the school, our basketball teams have always traveled throughout the holiday season to various states and tourist destinations. However, I was approached by coach Michael Jones and several community and business leaders about putting together a holiday tournament to bring in teams from across the country. We are so happy to host teams from Raleigh, Charlotte, Cincinnati and Roanoke to our area. We hope this is the beginning of a tradition that lasts for many years to come.”
The tournament originally featured eighth teams but St. Vincent Pollotti, of Maryland, and Douglass High School, of Memphis, dropped out last week due to covid issues on their teams. Harvest Prep, Ohio, dropped out late Saturday night. Farmer and Jones switched to a round-robin format with only five teams.
“We’ve had to adjust the schedule a few times due to unfortunate circumstances, but it’s exciting to have something at home on Christmas break,” Jones said. “We look forward to hosting these four out-of-state teams to showcase our facilities. We hope hey will have a great experience.”
The revised schedule includes:

Monday, Dec. 27
Harlan County vs Heritage, Va — 2 p.m.
Lakota West, Ohio vs North Raleigh Christian, N.C. — 4:30 p.m.
Harlan County vs Metro Christian, N.C. — 6 p.m.

Tuesday, Dec 28
North Raleigh Christian, N.C. vs Heritage, Va. — 11 a.m.
Metro Christian, N.C. vs Lakota West, Ohio — 12:30 p.m.
Harlan County vs North Raleigh Christian, N.C. — 2 p.m.

Wednesday, Dec 29
Heritage, Va. vs Metro Christian, N.C. — 12:30 p.m.
Harlan County vs Lakota West, Ohio — 2 p.m.