The Hotbed: A Classic in Every Sense of the Word

The dictionary lists two definitions for the noun form of classic. First, a classic is a work of enduring excellence and the second definition of classic is a traditional event. The Hotbed Classic is a combination of both, because it is a work of enduring excellence that is a traditional event that serves a two-fold purpose.

Yes, the Hotbed Classic has been a showcase for some great basketball over the years and this year’s edition will mark the 22nd Hotbed. The Kiwanis Club strives to do their very best to bring the fans the very best matchups and also some very interesting scenarios possible.

The examples for this year of some playoff type matchups could be the Booneville-Piney Woods game and the Briarcrest (Memphis)-Jackson Provine game. A couple of the interesting scenarios could be the West Union-Kossuth and Amory-Ingomar games.

In the West Union-Kossuth game, we have former West Union standout, Scottie Shettles, now coach at Kossuth, coming back to Union County to face his former school. The same is true of the Amory-Ingomar matchup as former Falcon, Rob Browning faces the school of his playing days.  Browning also served as a student assistant under current Ingomar coach Jonathan Ashley while Ashley was coaching at Myrtle.

All five schools from our Union County area will be involved in this year’s Hotbed Classic as well as neighboring schools from North Pontotoc, Tupelo, Booneville, Baldwyn, and Marshall Academy.

If the Hotbed was only a device to bring great basketball action to Union County and North Mississippi, that would be a wonderful thing, but the Hotbed serves an even greater purpose than this. The Hotbed is THE main instrument that the Kiwanis Club of New Albany uses to support its charitable projects right here in Union County.

Yes, the Hotbed has an even higher calling than just great basketball entertainment and below is a list of some of the worthwhile projects that benefit from the revenue raised at the Hotbed.

Terrific Kids                                        Scholarships for City & County Seniors

Good Samaritan                                  Dean Provence Endowment

Hanry Band Endowment                    Junior Auxiliary

Lighthouse Foundation                       New Albany & Union County Football

St. Jude                                               Helping Hands

UNITE                                                            NEMCC Endowment

Union County Museum                      FUMC Christmas Store

Sanctuary Hospice House                   First Choice Center for Women

Angel Foods Ministries                       Books for Babes

Boy Scouts                                          New Albany Booster Clubs

Hugh O’Brien Foundation                  NAHS & Union County Schools Musical

New Haven Center                             Union County Ole Miss & MS State Scholarship Fund

Boys & Girls Club                              Connie Davis Fishing Rodeo

New Albany Bulldog Athletic Foundation

That is a listing of twenty-seven schools, organizations, non-profits, foundations, athletic programs, scholarships, etc. that directly benefit from the annual Hotbed Classic. So as we can see, the Hotbed Classic is indeed a tremendous opportunity to see some of the best basketball action and some of the best basketball teams from the area, state of Mississippi, and the entire Mid-South. The Hotbed Classic is also a great opportunity us to share with our fellow Union Countians through the local charitable work of the Kiwanis Club of New Albany. Each and every one of us probably has a family member that has benefitted one way or another from one or more of the list above.

Next week, we will look at the inception of the Hotbed Classic and some of the games and players from past Hotbeds. We will also have some commentary by two of the key organizers in the Hotbed Classic past and present, Bill Parks and Mike Nobles. Be sure to check out next week’s issue of our News Exchange for more Hotbed Classic information.

The Hotbed Classic is Saturday, January 26, at the New Albany Gymnasium and the first contest tips-off at 10:00 and the final game of the night begins at 8:00. Admission for the Hotbed Classic is $6.00. Here are the games on tap with teams and game time:

10:00 a.m.       West Union vs. Kossuth

11:15 a.m.       East Union vs. Marshall Academy

12:30 p.m.       Myrtle vs. North Pontotoc

2:00 p.m.         Booneville vs. Piney Woods

3:30 p.m.         Ingomar vs. Amory

5:00 p.m.         Briarcrest vs. Jackson Provine

6:30 p.m.         Tupelo vs. Baldwyn

8:00 p.m.         New Albany vs. DeSoto Central

About Dennis Clayton

I cover high school sports in Union County and occasionally contribute sports articles to sister community newspapers of Journal Inc. Follow me on Twitter: @denclayton for scores and updates on our local high school teams.