The 2014 edition will mark the last for organizer Mike Nobles who has been the head of the Kiwanis Club of New Albany’s annual fundraiser.
“It’s been a good time, I’ve enjoyed it but its really just time for a break,” Nobles said on Wednesday as the club displayed its T-shirts to the tournament’s 16 sponsors.
Sixteen boys clubs will pay a visit to New Albany for the eight game slate, including all four Union County teams as well as the New Albany Bulldogs.
“I think it’s an exciting year, we’ve got some good teams coming in. A lot of great match-ups,” Nobles said.
The tournament has pulled two teams from outside Mississippi in the Titans from Gadsden City High School in Gadsden City, Ala. and defending Tennessee Class II-A champion Lasuanne Lynx from Memphis.
“Lasuanne was a team who I didn’t know about, people really pointed me to them. But I heard a lot of good things and they were excited for the opportunity to come down here to play,” Nobles said.
The Bulldogs will take on the Lynx in Saturday’s finale at 8 p.m.
The Titans will face Grenada in the penultimate game at 6:30 p.m.
Grenada’s Chargers team will bring with them one of two Dandy Dozen members that will see the court in center Joniah White.
Another marquee game will happen at 5 p.m. when West Lincoln High School takes on the defending Class 1A Champion Biggersville Lions with a starting five line up of seniors that includes Dandy Dozen pick Daniel Simmons.
Union County schools will kick off the tournament with a four-game run that includes West Union facing New Site at 10 a.m. and East Union against a rebuilding Booneville Blue Devils squad at 11:15 a.m.
Myrtle will take on Alcorn County’s Kossuth Aggies at 12:30 p.m. before Ingomar faces Marshall Academy and their 7’0 senior center Johnny Crnogorac.
“We really want to encourage people to come out and support their teams. We couldn’t do this tournament every year without the fans,” Nobles said.
The Hotbed Classic serves as the Kiwanis Club’s biggest fundraiser of the year with the proceeds going back into the community.
“This really is the biggest thing that we do all year and the success and reputation that the Hotbed has is something we are all proud of. It’s all because of the fan and community support that we are even able to do this,” Nobles said.
Proceeds from the tournament will benefit organizations such as the Northeast Community College scholarship endowment, the Ole Miss and Mississippi State scholarship funds for Union County students, the Boys an Girls Club and Sanctuary Hospice House.
Money also extends to places such as St. Jude and the Connie Davis Fishing Rodeo and deposits funds into other sports and arts events like the New Albany and Union County school musicals and both New Albany and East Union football programs.
“We want to give back, that’s the entire purpose of this tournament,” Nobles said.
Admission for the day of games is $6 per person and concessions and tournament T-shirts will be available for purchase.