PANAMA CITY— The Halifax All-Star Classic will celebrate a decade of prep basketball excellence on April 5.


PANAMA CITY— The Halifax All-Star Classic will celebrate a decade of prep basketball excellence on April 5.



The 10th annual event returns to Gulf Coast State College’s Billy Harrison Field House for games featuring some of the Panhandle's best senior talent. The girls game begins at 11 a.m. the first Saturday in April, followed by the boys at 1 p.m. in a continuing series featuring highly competitive basketball games.



Halifax Media Group and two of its Florida daily newspapers, the Northwest Florida Daily News and the Panama City News Herald, again are lead sponsors, along with the college. Additional sponsorship is provided by the Panama City Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau.



The West teams are chosen by the sports department at the Northwest Florida Daily News, which is headquartered in Fort Walton Beach and covers Okaloosa, Santa Rosa and Walton counties. The West girls lead 7-2 with a series-high streak of four wins between 2008 and 2011.



The East teams are selected by the sports department at The News Herald, the Panama City-based publication that covers Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Liberty and Washington counties. The East boys team has won three consecutive meetings and leads the overall series 6-3.



The Halifax Classic features some area athletes who have decided on college destinations as high as the Division I level. The event also gives additional players a final opportunity to be seen by regional scouts at junior colleges and smaller universities. It’s not uncommon for athletes to be offered scholarships following the Halifax Classic.



The games are played under collegiate rules to help athletes prepare for the next step in their careers. The differences include 20-minute halves, which extend the games eight minutes longer than traditional four-quartered prep encounters to place increased emphasis on stamina and deeper rosters. Other rules variations include extended 3-point lines and a shot clock.



HOW TO HELP



Any individual or business wanting to sponsor the 10th Annual Halifax All-Star Classic may contact Brad Milner, News Herald Writer Jason Shoot (jshoot@pcnh.com; 850-747-5067) or Executive Sports Editor Pat McCann (pmccann@pcnh.com; 850-747-5068). The event accepts any and all levels of sponsorships, from monetary support to in-kind donations.



Email Brad Milner, send him a Tweet, or call him at 850-747-5065.