Poplar Springs packs gyms for Alabama-Florida Shootout

GRACEVILLE, Fla (WJHG/WECP) - Area high school varsity girls and JV boys basketball teams are going at it for a few days of head to head competition.

Poplar Springs is hosting the week long the Alabama-Florida Shootout, bringing 24 girls teams and 36 total schools counting the boys schedule on separate days.

Teams play three games each day, using both the new and old gyms at Poplar Springs High School.

The tournament is run with the goal of helping girls stay sharp and improve, while also giving teams the chance to face new opponents.

"We're kind of centrally located," Poplar Springs boys basketball coach Jared Owen said. "We get some teams from Alabama. We get teams from around us in the panhandle. You don't have to drive to far and you're going to get at least three games a day. We always try and make sure we don't pit district teams against each other and we don't want the Alabama teams to play each other. So you get a good mix of opponents who you don't normally see in the regular season."

This week's games also highlights area of improvement come fall.

"We lost eight seniors off of last year's team that was very successful for the last three years, so we've got a whole new ball of wax we're just trying to mold," South Walton girls varsity head coach Kevin Craig said. "It gives the kids experience playing at the varsity level if they didn't already have that before, try to get as good a competition as we can get. It just makes you better."

The tournament wraps up with JV boys Thursday and varsity girls on Friday.