The 26th Poplar Bluff Showdown will tipoff at Peters Gym today.
Here is the bracket.
The 26th annual event features eight teams, including the 6-2 Mules, along with Memphis teams Kirby and Booker T. Washington, Jonesboro (Ark.), Forrest City (Ark.), Maplewood-Richmond Heights near St. Louis, Moss Point (Miss.) and Liberty Tech of Jackson Tenn.
The tournament starts at 4 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 27 and ends Saturday, Dec. 29.
I will not be able to provide a running update here, but will post updates on Twitter. At the end of each night, I'll post a roundup of the games.
Here's a look at the teams that will play in the 26th annual Poplar Bluff Showdown at Peters Gym on Dec. 27-29. Tickets are $7 per day.
POPLAR BLUFF MULES
COACH: Will Durden
Poplar Bluff * The Mules have won their own tournament just once in 25 years. They reached the final six more times, the last in 2004 when they won. ... Last year the Mules placed seventh, losing to Kirby in the first round. ... Poplar Bluff is 32-41 all-time at the Showdown, 13-12 in the opening round. ... The Mules (5-2) opened the season with losses to a pair of top-ranked teams, South Iron (Class 1) and Sikeston (Class 4), in the state coaches' poll.
MOSS POINT TIGERS
COACH: Micoe Cotton
Moss Point, Miss. * First appearance at Showdown. ... Booker is ranked the No. 3 shooting guard in the nation for his class and 23rd overall by scout.com. He is the son of former Mizzou star Melvin Booker, a teammate of former Mules coach Lamont Frazier and is currently the team's assistant coach. ... Booker scored 54 points in a game last season. ... The Tigers (5-7) last played Friday at Biloxi, Miss., beating Brewbaker Tech (Ala.) 80-65 behind Booker's 49 points.
COACH: Retushas Spears
Memphis, Tenn. * Fourth appearance for the Cougars. ... Finished third last year, beating Tupelo, Miss. 57-46. ... Placed fifth in 1990 and sixth in 1991. ... Lost all five starters to graduation. ... Kirby is 4-5 coming off a 3-point loss. ... Mitchell is Kirby's leading scorer on most nights.
LIBERTY TECH CRUSAIDERS
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COACH: Terrell Green
Jackson, Tenn. * Fifth appearance for the Crusaiders. ... They won consecutive Showdown titles in 2008 and '09 while placing fifth in '10 and fourth in '07. ... Tech (5-5) is coming off a 7-point loss that snapped a three-game win streak. ... Hill scored 23 points in a win over a previously unbeaten South Side team. ... Hill and Crisp lead a rebounding process for a team that reached the state semifinal in each of the last three seasons. ... After winning the '09 Showdown, Tech lost in the state final. They won a state title in '07 and '11 after coming to the Showdown. Last year, Tech lost by 3 in the state semifinal.
MAPLEWOOD-RH BLUE DEVILS
COACH: Corey Frazier
St. Louis * Third appearance for the Blue Devils. ... Tournament runner-ups last year after losing 51-50 to Booker T. Washington of Memphis. ... Finished seventh in 2007. ... Finished 19-7 last year, losing in district semifinal by a point to Carnahan. ... Coach Frazier is from Charleston and played at Saint Louis University. ... The Blue Devils return four starters in Frazier, Collins, Williams and Hagens. ... Lone loss this season was to Lee (Ala.) by a point. ... Hagens led team in scoring last year at 16.3 points. Through nine games this season, Hagens was averaging 19.8 points, 4.7 rebounds, 4.8 steals, 2.3 assists and nearly 2 blocks per game. ... Frazier, a senior, is averaging 11.8 points, 3.7 assists and 3.6 steals. ... Spudich, who came off the bench last year, is averaging 8.0 points and 7.9 rebounds.
JONESBORO GOLDEN HURRICANE
COACH: Wes Swift
Jonesboro, Ark. * This is the first Showdown appearance for the Golden Hurricane. ... Jonesboro (7-2) features a backcourt of Ross and Pointer, who have both been offered scholarships by Arkansas State and Southeast Missouri State, among others. ... Jonesboro placed second in the Class 6A last year, losing to former Showdown champion Little Rock Parkview 69-65 in double-overtime. ... Coming off a 49-32 win over Benton (Ark.) in which Pointer scored 19 while Ross and Toliver each added 17.
BOOKER T. WASHINGTON WARRIORS
COACH: Fred Horton
Memphis, Tenn. * This is the second straight appearance. ... Defending champions of the tournament, beat Maplewood-RH 51-50 in last year's final. ... Returns two starters in Griffin and Fitch. Griffin scored 10 points in the final. ... All-tournament player Khalil Spencer, a freshman last year, transferred to Mitchell. ... Griffin has scored 32 and 30 points in a game this season. ... BTW opened with a loss to Sheffield, ranked No. 12 in Memphis but has won five straight. ... The Warriors finished 31-2 last year, losing in the state quarterfinals when opposing player threw a three-quarter court shot to force overtime. ... Allante Milam transferred from Westwood, which was the only Memphis area team to beat the Warriors last year.
FORREST CITY MUSTANGS
COACH: Dwight Lofton
Forrest City, Ark. * Sixth appearance for the Mustangs. ... Won the title in 2006. ... Finished sixth last year, losing to Sylvan Hills (Ark.) 69-57 on the final night. ... Placed third in 2005, fifth in '09 and seventh in '08. ... Thompson was named to the all-tournament team last year. ... Hutchienson is the only other returning starter for the Mustangs. ... Forrest City lost in the state quarterfinal last year. In the Showdown, the Mustangs lost to Sylvan Hills, which went on to win the Class 5A state title.
Editor's Note: Reporters from other newspapers Fred Conley (Forrest City) and Cory Clark (Jonesboro) provided information for this story.