The 24th edition of the McDonald’s High School Basketball Classic will be held in Erie on Friday, January 12 and Saturday, January 13, 2007 at the Gannon University Hammermill Center. This year’s event features nationally renowned programs from California and Ohio, featuring rosters replete with top-ranked players.

The field is highlighted by the appearance of two of the most renowned players in Classic history. Delvon Roe, a 6’7” wing player for St. Edward of Lakewood, Ohio, is currently 2nd ranked player in the junior class by PrepStars Recruiter’s Handbook, and is regarded as one of the best players in the nation regardless of class. Dallas Lauderdale of nearby Solon, Ohio, also is slated to perform, and the 6’10” explosive athlete is on everyone’s list of top centers in the nation.

Also entering the field for Classic 2007 is vaunted Westchester High of Los Angeles, California. The Comets, competing in their third McDonald’s Classic, are annually one of the nation’s top interscholastic programs.

The Classic will tip-off on Friday, January 12, with a first round, 7:00 PM match-up between Westchester and St. Edward. The 8:30 PM nightcap will feature Solon High and the host team Erie Cathedral Prep.

St. Edward is making their second appearance in the Classic, having won the title back in 1997. Head Coach Eric Flannery has been guiding the Eagles for eleven seasons and boasts of a 177-60 record including seven District titles, four regional crowns, and one state championship. His top players include current professionals Sam Clancy (USC), Jawad Williams (North Carolina), Steve Logan (Cincinnati), and Steve LePore (Wake Forest).

Also coming from neighboring Ohio is Solon High, featuring 6’10” All-American Dallas Lauderdale, who will play next season for Ohio State. The Comets are coached by highly-successful mentor Todd VanReeth, who in an 18-year career has compiled a 302-120 record, including a 92-29 record with Solon. His squads at Solon have won four league titles in the last six seasons, and have twice been a regional finalist.

The other visiting squad always brings impressive credentials and high aspirations for national championship recognition. Westchester High was California’s AAAA State Champions in 2005 and will feature 6’7 Dane Suttle, the reigning Los Angeles player of the year and junior Oscar Bellfield, who has been offered a scholarship by USC. The Comets are hoping their third trip to Erie ends with their second Classic crown.

Making a return to the Classic for the 24th consecutive year will be the Cathedral Prep Ramblers who are under the direction of head coach Brian Flanagan, who has gone 48-11 in his two seasons on the bench.

In his first season in 2004-’05, he led the Ramblers to the Final Four in Pennsylvania with a banner record of 26-5, the fourth highest win total in school history. The Ramblers return just one starter from a year ago in junior Mark Blazek, but also have three seniors who saw regular minutes in guards Josh Licata and Ryan Heidt, along with center Jeff Wisinski.

General Admission tickets are available at the Erie Sport Store, the Erie Avalon Hotel, Dee’s News, and select McDonald’s Restaurants in Northwest Pennsylvania while they last.

No phone orders will be accepted, and no tickets can be held. Another sell-out crowd is expected, so fans are encouraged to buy their tickets early.

For additional information contact Bill Flanagan, Erie Cathedral Prep Athletic Director, at 814-453-7737 ext. 227 or Ron Sertz, Tournament Director, at 814-392-1599, fax 814-836-0463 or by email at McDonaldsClassic@AOL.com.

Dennis Weed blogs at Erie Blogs.

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