CLOVER -- 'Tis the season for Clover High School varsity girls and boys basketball.
Both teams are involved in much-anticipated holiday basketball tournaments.
The Lady Blue Eagles will depart Saturday for the Dec. 20-23 Shootout by the Sea event at Myrtle Beach.
"It will be a good experience for our players, especially the seniors, who've worked hard since the seventh-grade," said head coach Mike Pearson. "They deserve it."
The tournament is loaded with power teams, including the CHS girls' opening opponent, Monacan High School of Richmond, Va.
"They have a Division 1 player every year," noted Pearson.
Though the opening game presents a challenge, Pearson said participation in the prestigious tournament is about more than wins and losses.
Sunday is a day for bonding, attending church together, visiting the South Carolina Aquarium and other Grand Strand attractions.
"We have a good group that is devoted to God and understands there is a power stronger than their coach," Pearson said.
The Lady Blue Eagles lost a 36-34 nail-biter to Rock Hill last week.
"We had a nine-point lead with six minutes left and struggled against Rock Hill's pressing defense," Pearson said. "Our girls were upbeat after the game. They talked about it."
Iesha Wade paced the scoring with 12 points and Stephanie Dover grabbed 14 rebounds.
Wade has been under Pearson's tutelage since second-grade and Dover is averaging 12 rebounds a game.
In assessing the team's potential, Pearson breaks the season into four quarters--preseason, nonregion, region and the playoffs.
In earlier action last week, the CHS girls fell to Ashbrook, 45-29.
Coach Dudley Lybrand's Blue Eagles are gearing up for Christmas in the Corner Dec. 29-31 at Berkeley High School in Moncks Corner.
The tournament includes teams from Florida and New York, as well as teams from the Palmetto State.
"It's an outstanding tournament," Lybrand said. "We try to take the kids to different locations."
While Lybrand seeks improvement in a tournament of such magnitude, he also wants the players to experience the other side of life by visiting the market and other Charleston area attractions.
"We want them to have fun," he said. "We are fortunate the school and district allow us to make a trip like this."
The Blue Eagles fell last week to the Rock Hill Bearcats 47-40 after slicing the lead to two points with 1:02 left in the game.
Three-point shots by Aaron Miller and Alexander Wiley keyed the late-game surge.
Wiley led the scoring with 11 points and Chris Lindsay had 10.
The CHS boys defeated Ashbrook 45-40, with Josh Clawson scoring 14 points and Wiley 13.