It’s no coincidence the Ramblers captured Class 4A regional championships each of the last two seasons after winning consecutive holiday tournament titles in Naples, Florida, according to Loyola head coach Tom Livatino.
For the sixth year in a row, the Ramblers (7-4) are traveling out of state for the holidays. This will be their third appearance at the Gulfcoast Holiday Hoopfest, a 16-team tournament hosted by Golden Gate High School. Loyola is one two teams from outside of Florida. Covington Catholic, of Park Hills, Kentucky, also is in the field. The Colonels won a state championship last season.
“This is a highlight of the season for our players and their families,” Livatino said. “It’s something that galvanizes us. We always come back from these trips closer a better basketball team, both on and off the court. For a team that hasn’t quite found its way, we hope that trend continues. We do think we are going to play our best basketball in January, February and March.”
Loyola’s girls basketball team is at the Naples Holiday Shootout for a second year in a row. The Ramblers, who took third place last season, play Nease, of Ponte Verda, Florida, in the first round. The Lady Panthers (11-0) are one of the best teams in the state. They are headlined by senior forward Camille Hobby, who has signed with North Carolina State.
The Ramblers are on a three-game winning streak, the highlight a 48-45 win over Evanston on the road.
“This is a good way to wrap up the year,” Loyola head coach Jeremy Schoenecker said. “We value team-building and being around each other five days is a great way for us to become closer.”
Game 1 – First Baptist Academy vs. Wilmette (Ill.)-Loyola, 9 a.m.
Game 2 – Naples vs. Hallandale, 10:45 a.m.
Game 3 – Lehigh vs. Fort Lauderdale-St. Thomas Aquinas, 12:30 p.m.
Game 4 – Community School vs. Largo, 2:15 p.m.
Game 5 – Seacrest vs. Sanford-Seminole, 4 p.m.
Game 6 – Ocala-Trinity Catholic vs. Deerfield Beach, 5:45 p.m.
Game 7 – Golden Gate vs. Parkland-Stoneman Douglas, 7:30 p.m.
Game 8 – Park Hills (Ky.)-Covington Catholic vs. Lakeland-Kathleen, 9:15 p.m.
Quarterfinal 1 – Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2, 4 p.m.
Quarterfinal 2 – Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4, 5:45 p.m.
Quarterfinal 3 – Winner Game 7 vs. Winner Game 8, 7:30 p.m.
Quarterfinal 4 – Winner Game 5 vs. Winner Game 6, 9:15 p.m.
Semifinals – Winner Quarterfinal 3 vs. Winner Quarterfinal 4, 7:30 p.m.
Semifinals – Winner Quarterfinal 1 vs. Winner Quarterfinal 2, 9:15 p.m.
Third place game, Noon
Championship, 1:45 p.m.