In the first edition of the event that would become know as the Whataburger Basketball Tournament, Fort Worth Arlington Heights was defeated by Bowie, 70-53, in the championship match.
Fifty-four tournaments later, Arlington Heights returns looking to claim a title in what has become the area’s premiere holiday showcase.
A trip to the championship game will be a tall task for any team invited to the Boys Orange Bracket of the tournament at Birdville’s W.G. Thomas Coliseum, which includes two nationally ranked and eight state ranked teams in the field of 16.
Games begin Wednesday morning and continue through the winner’s bracket championship Friday at 8:15 p.m.
ESPNHS Fab 50 No. 11 Flower Mound Marcus headlines the tournament, followed by No. 39 DeSoto.
Two of the nation's top recruits are featured on these two squads, No. 11 in 2012's Marcus Smart and No. 21 in 2013's Matt Jones. Smart has already signed with Oklahoma State and Jones has a commitment to Duke.
DeSoto has the toughest draw in Wednesday’s opening round, facing Texas Association of Basketball Coaches No. 11 team in the state, Coppell, at 2:30 p.m.
The only other opening-round game that features two ranked teams is TABC No. 16 Garland Naaman Forest and No. 9 Richland at 1 p.m.
Prince Ibeh of Naaman Forest, a Texas commit, is also on the ESPNU Top 100 for the Class of 2012 at No. 79.
Tickets can be purchased at the tournament sites for $6 on Wednesday and $7 on Thursday and Friday. All-tournament passes are also available for $17 for one venue and $28 for all venues.
Wednesday’s Opening-Round Schedule
10:00 a.m.: Plano West vs. Arlington Heights
11:30 a.m.: Arlington Martin vs. No. 12 Richardson Berkner
1:00 p.m.: No. 16 Garland Naaman Forest vs. No. 9 Richland
2:30 p.m.: No. 11 Coppell vs. No. 2 DeSoto
4:00 p.m.: Klein Forest vs. No. 6 North Crowley
5:30 p.m.: Milwaukee King vs. Duncanville
7:00 p.m.: Northwest vs. No. 1 Flower Mound Marcus
8:30 p.m.: Little Rock Parkview vs. L.D. Bell