Having the opportunity to play at home for the holidays is important for the Jefferson City Lady Jays and Helias Lady Crusaders.
This year, they both will get home games in the State Farm Holiday Hoops Invitational as the tournament will move to Fleming Fieldhouse after playing its first two days at Rackers Fieldhouse.
"It's a chance for us to have another game on our home floor," Jefferson City coach Brad Conway said Wednesday during a media conference for the Invitational. "That will be a day packed full of games and if you like watching basketball, that will be a neat atmosphere."
The trophy games of the Dec. 28-30 tournament will be played along with the boys games from the Machens Great 8 Classic. Games will begin at 9 a.m. and go through the evening.
Helias Lady Crusaders coach Alan Lepper thinks it's a great idea to combine the two events on the final day.
"That's a great venue, you know it will be packed and a great experience for the coaches and the players," Lepper said. "It's a great tournament to be a part of."
The Lady Jays and the Lady Crusaders are two of the eight teams in the Invitational.
"It's a tournament full of teams like ourselves," Conway said. "It seems everybody's got some returners, but is also trying to work in a group of new players as well."
Jefferson City will play Quincy, Ill., in the first game of the Invitational, scheduled for 2:30 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 28.
Helias will square off against Eureka in its opener at 4 p.m. that day.
"They're looking to rebuild like we are," Lepper said.
The Lady Crusaders are looking to make a deep run in the Invitational
"Depending on how we play on a given day, you never know, Lepper said.
The first-round matchups will have Hickman taking on Blue Springs South and St. Joseph Benton facing Hyde Park, Ill.
The Lady Jays will also be a part of the Capital City Shootout on Saturday, Dec. 16. Jefferson City will take on Cardinal Ritter at 5:30 p.m.
"We would go 21/2 weeks without playing before the tournament, so it's a big game for us," Conway said. "We're going to have a full week of practice before that and more than a week after that to get ready for the Invitational, it will good to get out on the floor against somebody else.
"It will give us a chance to stay sharp."