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Hardee’s Classic returns to Crockett

The Hardee’s Classic basketball tournament at David Crockett High School renews on Tuesday, Nov. 20, for the 23rd straight year.
The annual tournament, which has been a holiday tradition for Pioneers and several others, will be played Nov. 20-24. Brackets for the event were released at a media breakfast at Crockett on Nov. 13.
This season, the Pioneers will welcome seven other teams to the tournament.
Sullivan South and Unaka each return to the event from previous seasons and will open play against one another.
Sullivan East and Greeneville will follow, with Crockett and Happy Valley playing the first of the evening games.
Unicoi and University High will close out the opening night of the tournament against one another.
The double elimination tournament will then break for Thanksgiving after the opening night and return on Friday, Nov. 23, with quarterfinal and consolation contests. Saturday will conclude the event with the semifinals and championship.
There will be four games each night of the tournament.
Pioneers’ Head Coach Richard Tarlton is ready to play in and host the event once again. He said he expects tough competition throughout the tournament.
“We are very excited about this year’s tournament competition field. This tournament has proven to be one of the most competitive in Northeast Tennessee and offers both players and fans exciting and enjoyable basketball action,” he said. “Throughout the years, many players we have seen in the tournament have gone on to the college level and continued their basketball careers.
“Many have returned to the area and now are either coaching, have family that have participated in the tournament or in some way are helping with the event.”
Happy Valley and Greeneville are the two newcomers to the event, taking the place of previous participants Cherokee and Daniel Boone High School.
The tournament stands as one of the Pioneer basketball team’s biggest fundraisers. Tickets are $5 and are available at the high school each night of the tournament.
“This is one of the oldest basketball tournaments in the state of Tennessee,” Tarlton said. “I think everyone can expect good matchups, exciting basketball and hard fought games.”