PANAMA CITY BEACH — Preview capsules for the eight boys teams playing in the Marlin Christmas Classic basketball tournament at the Arnold High School gymnasium:
Location: Panama City Beach
Coach: Bobby Britton
Top players: Cameron Britton, sr.; Rob Davison, sr., Barry Murray, sr.
Noteworthy: Arnold plays in Class 5A’s District 1 with Bay, Gulf Breeze, Rutherford and Pensacola West Florida Tech. … Britton is in his first season as coach after serving as the JV mentor at Mosley. … Arnold has won two Marlin Classic titles in the inaugural year of 2005 and also in 2006 and has played in the championship game in four of the previous seven years of the event. … The Marlins were third last year and seventh in 2010. … They have moved past the district stage once in 2006 with a first-round loss in the regional tournament.
Faith Academy Rams
Location: Mobile, Ala.
Coach: John Price
Top players: Derrick Griggs, sr.; Dylan Brown, sr.
Noteworthy: Faith Academy plays in Area 1 of Class 5A, which is the state’s second-largest classification. … The Rams won the South regional title, finished 24-7 and fell in the state semifinal last season. … Price is in his sixth year as coach at the school, leading the team to 108 wins and three straight regional appearances. … Price is 256-102 in 12 seasons as a coach in Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee.
Franklin Road Academy Panthers
Location: Nashville, Tenn.
Coach: John Pierce
Top players: Andy Smith, sr.; Joe Mattson, sr.
Noteworthy: Franklin Road plays in Division II’s Class 1A East/Middle grouping of private schools. … The Panthers were 29-7 and lost in the Class 1A sub-state round last season. … They are 56-13 over the past two seasons and were state runner-up in 2010-11.
Marshall County Marshals
Location: Benton, Ky.
Coach: Gus Gillespie
Top players: Chase Clark, sr.; Casey White, sr.; Austin Renfrow, jr.
Noteworthy: Marshall County plays in Region 1, District 4. … There is only one classification in Kentucky. … The Marshals won the 2008 Marlin Classic and were runners-up in 2010 … They were 32-3, won the district and regional championships and lost in the first round of the Sweet Sixteen last season.
Meade County Green Wave
Location: Brandenburg, Ky.
Coach: Jerry Garris
Top players: Bryce Garris, sr.; Travis Jenkins, jr.
Noteworthy: Meade County plays in Region 3, District 11. … The Green Wave won the district title and were ousted after two games in the regional tournament. … They finished 17-13 last season. … Garris is 158-131 in 10 seasons as coach.
Coach: Jerome Strutchen
Top players: Nicholas Haynes, sr.; Andrew Mitchell, sr.
Noteworthy: Niceville plays in Class 6A’s District 2 with Choctawhatchee, Crestview, Fort Walton Beach and Mosley. … The Eagles have won two Marlin Classic titles in 2007 and 2009 and they hold the tournament record with 36 field goals in a game set in 2006. … They are 10-2 in Marlin Classic games. … Niceville won the 2-6A title last season and was eliminated in the first round of the regional tournament. … It advanced to the Class 5A state semifinal in 2010.
Starr’s Mill Panthers
Location: Fayetteville, Ga.
Coach: Brandon Hutchins
Top players: Matt Walsh, sr.; Ryan Avidano, jr.
Noteworthy: Starr’s Mill plays in Class 5A and the 11-team Region 4. … The Panthers are slotted into the five-team Subregion B. … Class 5A is Georgia’s second-largest classification. … The Panthers were third in the 2010 Marlin Classic and sixth in 2011. … They did not advance to the regional round last season. … Hutchins is in his sixth season as coach.
Location: Piedmont, S.C.
Coach: Fran Campbell
Top players: Mike Stone, sr.; Jordan Phillips, sr.
Noteworthy: Wren plays in Class 3A’s Region 1. … The Hurricanes played in Class 4A last season and entered the Upper State bracket as a regional champion. … They finished 16-10 and were eliminated in the second round of the state tournament.