Neosho prepares to host Holiday Classic tournament

The Neosho Holiday Classic returns next week, with games beginning on December 28th.

NEOSHO, Mo. – The Neosho Holiday Classic returns to Neosho High School next week from December 28th-30th. This year, there are eight girls teams in the field and 16 boys teams which are split into two brackets (Neosho Holiday Classic – Schedule). High schools from four different states will be competing.

“I think it’s a huge benefit to us and all the local teams to get to see teams that we don’t see throughout the season,” says boys head coach Zane Culp. “I think the boys enjoy seeing other teams and other kids that they don’t see all the time. It also brings people into the community to get to experience our tournament and our cool fieldhouse.”

As for the local teams, the defending champion East Newton boys are the lone local team in the boys gold bracket. The black bracket features McDonald County, Monett, Lamar, Cassville and the hometown Neosho Wildcats.

“We have really good community support,” Culp says. “They don’t just come and watch us, they come and watch all day. It’s cool leading up to the day. We play at 5:30 so you can feel the buzz around the arena as the day gets closer to our game. You can feel the boys getting more and more excited. Every year the first game is just a different experience and I’m excited the boys get to experience it.”

Neosho is set to play Cassville in their opening game.

“We haven’t played them this year and we don’t play them again,” Culp says. “They’ll probably bring lots of fans which will make it even more fun.”

The Wildcats enter the tournament with a 5-and-2 record in their first seven games. The team is looking forward to competing in front of their home crowd and continuing to gain experience.

“We’ve played well. We would’ve liked to have won a few more,” Culp says. “It’s always fun to play in front of your home crowd. Hopefully we win that first game, those first couple games, get in that winners bracket and get a chance to play in another championship game like we did earlier in the season. I think that’s a good experience especially moving into January and conference play.”