The Tigers have not won a Holiday Festival championship since 2009.
Tournament fields are often filled months in advance, Ardmore coach Mark Wilson said. Host coaches trust their colleagues to adhere to their agreement.
That didn't happen this time. Consequently, the 34th Annual Ardmore Holiday Festival features a round-robin format on the boys side.
“Unfortunately, we had some people that canceled on us really late,” Wilson said. “Of the eight that were here last year, three teams decided not to come back. That's tough. We replaced two of them right away, but those are the two that dropped out.
“The people that are coming are solid teams.”
Carl Albert, Del City, Hugo and Western Heights join Ardmore's varsity and JV teams. (The two Tigers teams won't play each other.)
Ardmore opens with Western Heights at 8 p.m. Tuesday.
The Class 5A No. 13 Tigers (3-4) play Del City at 8 p.m. It's this point that senior guard Tay Swindall and his coach disagree about the round-robin format.
“It's no different,” Swindall said. “It's all the same. It's all basketball. We're going to play.”
In contrast, Wilson likes that he knows his team's opponent on Wednesday. It's the Del City Eagles. To wit, on Wednesday at practice, Wilson talked to his team about Del City's tendencies.
“It's different,” Wilson said. “Coaches like to have some idea, not have to just watch somebody the day before, (an opponent) you've never seen and have to watch both teams to figure out who you're playing.
“It's a little easier in that aspect.”
Should Ardmore advance to the championship game at 8 p.m. Thursday, the Tigers could face Carl Albert, the Class 5A No. 1 team that beat the Tigers 72-67 on Dec. 2.
Junior forward Berto Sanchez had foul trouble that game, Wilson said shortly after the contest.
Ardmore is confident in its opportunity.
“We've got a good chance to win it,” Swindall said. “It's some great teams in it. We're in a good position to win it. We're at home. We're just going to have fun and try to win, make sure we win.”
Ardmore has not won a holiday festival championship since 2009. Wilson said he has not really talked to his players about breaking that skid.
Furthermore, negotiations are in progress for the 35th annual event, Wilson said.
“We've started working on next year's field,” Wilson said. “We've got people that I, think, are going to be able to come.”