Originally created 06/18/04

Classic sets its field of 64



A team of Angels will fly down from Arkansas. Another flight of Eagles are swooping in from Alabama. Tornadoes are on the way from West Virginia.

It's not nature gone wild. It's 120 basketball games over three days in Augusta.

That's the cause beginning at 4 p.m. today at the 2004 Garden City Roundball Classic. The fifth annual amateur girls basketball event will have 64 teams in eight age brackets.

An examination of the tournament brackets reveals teams from at least eight states.

"The fans and the turnouts have been getting better and better every year since we started this," Roundball Classic official Kenneth Griffin said. "The fan support we receive makes it very attractive to the teams wishing to come in."

The 64 teams represent a healthy increase in participation since the Roundball Classic's inaugural field of 22 in 2000.

As far as the high school level age group goes, the teams represent the best two or three players from their respective high school teams.

"These are players on another level than the mainstream," Griffin said.

Alumni of the event include Georgia recruit Tasha Humphrey, a 2004 consensus prep All-American and former McDonald's All-American, and current North Carolina Tar Heel La'Tangela Atkinson. Glenn Hills product Marian Whitfield also played the event in her prep career before accepting a scholarship to Louisiana State.

"I would say it is kind of different," said Cross Creek's Shay Rawls, a member of the Georgialina 76ers. "It's a different level so you've got to give more effort - especially the local players.

"You don't want to get embarrassed in your hometown.

"But I think we can win in. We can go all the way."

Sunday's championships in each division will be held at North Augusta's Riverview Park. Preliminary rounds of pool play will be held at Hephzibah, T.W. Josey and North Augusta high schools.

Reach Jeff Sentell at (706) 823-3425 or jeff.sentell@augustachronicle.com.

2004 Garden City Roundball Classic

WHAT: Sixty-four teams from eight states participating in a three-day tournament.
WHEN and WHERE: Today through Sunday at Hephzibah, T.W. Josey and North Augusta High. North Augusta's Riverview Park hosts the event.
HOW MUCH: $7 per day, $15 for an all-day tournament pass.