Hoopla raised over

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 31, 1999

CHHS tourney schedule


Sports Editor

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The Sidney Lanier Poets boys’ basketball team were without an opponent in Tuesday’s first round of the Blue-Gray All Invitational in Montgomery. That fact had the Poets’ head coach, Floyd Mathews, pointing his finger at the Charles Henderson High School Trojans.

In the Wednesday, Dec. 29, edition of the Montgomery Advertiser sports section a story by A.A. Moore was printed concerning Sidney Lanier’s lack of an opponent.

In the article Charles Henderson High School was said to have been slated for the game, but the Trojans were busy playing in the Dothan Progress/Dothan Eagle Holiday Prep Classic that day against the Headland High Rams. The Trojans lost that game to the Rams 55-54 after a dramatic fourth quarter comeback fell one point short, but the story printed the next day by the Advertiser implied that the CHHS squad turned up missing or simply did not honor its verbal agreement to attend.

In a conversation with Charles Henderson head coach Carl Hollis Thursday, The Messenger learned that according to Hollis, he and Mathews had an understanding that the Trojans would not be in Montgomery Tuesday and would be playing in Dothan on that date. Although the Trojans had played in the Montgomery-based tourney the past two years, Hollis had decided to participate in the Holiday Prep Classic.

If there were any other doubts as to where the Trojans planned on spending Tuesday, Dec. 28, the CHHS 1999-2000 basketball schedule, distributed long before the season started, clearly states that the Trojans would be participating in the Dothan tournament on that date.

In the Advertiser’s article, Moore quoted Mathews as saying: "Right now, I wouldn’t play a tiddlywinks game against Charles Henderson." Then went on to say that it was "widely assumed" that CHHS would show up for the contest. Yet, in both The Messenger and The Dothan Eagle, numerous stories and brackets were published stating that Charles Henderson would be playing in the first round of the Dothan tourney at that time, taking on the Rams.

Moore also quoted Mathews as saying that last Tuesday (Dec. 21) the coach had talked with Hollis and had come to the understanding CHHS would be in Montgomery for the game.

Hollis had a different understanding of the conversation.

"I told him personally that my team was not coming to the tournament and no contract had been signed," Hollis said. "The reason I know the contract hadn’t been signed is because it’s sitting here in my office. Either he forgot or he just didn’t take it seriously. He should know I don’t kid around about my basketball team. If I’m not under contract, my team is not obligated."

Charles Henderson did have a contract signed to play in the Dothan Progress/Dothan Eagle Holiday Prep Classic and that is where Hollis and his team went. As for their conversation Tuesday at the 1999 CHHS Christmas Classic, in which the Poets won, Hollis said he made things clear to Mathews.

"Last Tuesday at our tournament he was told again that I was not coming in the presence of other coaches," Hollis said. "I don’t know what the problem was. We never sent them any information whatsoever. No roster, no team picture, nothing. It’s kind of frustrating."

His motives for playing in the Dothan-based tournament instead of in Montgomery were understandable. Hollis says that his biggest reason for playing there is that it is his home and any coach enjoys playing that close to home. Also he felt that the Dothan tourney offered his team a chance to play against some teams that it might not get a chance to otherwise.

As far as some of the comments made by Mathews in Moore’s article, Hollis said he was surprised to pick up the paper and read them Wednesday.

"I would never, as a coach, say anything negative about another school," Hollis said. "I’m not running from anything and I’ll still play Lanier if he still wants to play that ball game. We can take all our frustrations out on the court."