By Erik Harris
HOMEWOOD – It’s hard to steal the show after only one time around. Not even Nick Saban or Gus Malzahn could reign supreme in Year 2.
Nevertheless, it’s hard to argue against the Steel City Invitational being the proverbial king of the hill when it comes to Alabama high school basketball tournaments, and it’s only on its second lap.
Sixth-ranked Clay-Chalkville will partake in the second addition of the tournament, which is presented by Andrews Sports Medicine and St. Vincent’s Health System.
The Cougars are set to tip off against last year’s Class 5A runner-up Ramsay on Friday in Samford University’s Seibert Hall at 4 p.m.
If Clay-Chalkville can beat the top-ranked Rams, it will see the winner of Class 6A No. 5 Bessemer City against Class 5A No. 3 J.O. Johnson on Saturday morning in Samford’s Pete Hanna Center at 9:30.
With a first round loss, the Cougars would face the loser of Bessemer City-J.O. Johnson at 9 a.m. Saturday, back in Seibert Hall.
The 16-team tournament is loaded with top-tier teams and talent. Eleven of those teams are ranked in the Alabama Sports Writers Association’s latest Top 10 poll, and three of them are defending state champions.
Clay-Chalkville could face, perhaps, the brightest star in the field Saturday. John Petty, a sophomore small forward at J.O. Johnson, is considered by ESPN one of the top 20 players nationally in the Class of 2017.
All semifinals and finals games will be played in the Pete Hanna Center. The two final four games will be played Saturday at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. The tournament champion will be decided Monday at 8 p.m.
For more information, visit www.steelcityhoops.com.