Tournament of Champions – A Real Family Affair
There is an interesting twist to the Kid's Inc./AMA Tech-Tel Tournament of Champions basketball tournament coming up Friday and Saturday in Canyon.
The annual event has the usual line up of solid teams participating, 8 boys and 8 girls teams from different parts of the state. However, in the girls bracket, the possibility exists that there could be several match ups of teams coached by members of the same family.
The Canyon Lady Eagles are the defending champions and go into the tournament undefeated and ranked 2nd in the state in Class 5A. Canyon is coached by legend Joe Lombard, who was inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame last summer. Also in the field again this year is Wall, which is led by Joe's son Tate Lombard. Wall has won two state championships in Class 3A since Tate became the head coach. Canyon and Wall met in last years TOC with the Lady Eagles winning.
There is one other Lombard in the Tournament. Joe's daughter Lindy is the head coach at Grapevine, which has been on the rise since she took over. A meeting of the two teams would have happened last season in the regional semifinals but the Lady Mustangs lost to Wichita Falls Rider in the regional quarters. If both Canyon and Grapevine win their opening games on Friday, they would play each other in round two, putting father against daughter.
If that's not enough, there are two other girls teams in the tournament which are coached by a mother and daughter. Tascosa's Betsy Baughman is the mother of Randall head coach Brooke Walthall. The Lady Rebels and Lady Raiders would meet if both win first round games.
All five head coaches downplay the significance of playing a team coached by a family member, instead choosing to focus on their teams getting better by playing quality opponents.
For fans and the media though, it makes it even more interesting.
For more information on the Kid's Inc./AMA Tech-tel Tournament of Champions, go to www.kidsinc.org/toc