Seeing her team build camaraderie has been one of the positives Natalie Herring has experienced since she took over as Dublin Jerome High School girls basketball coach.

In Herring's opinion, few things increase the connection between players like spending nearly a week together out of town. Thus, the Celtics are among the central Ohio teams that will be traveling to Florida to practice and play during the holiday break.

"I've gone to holiday tournaments with other teams," said Herring, who is in her third season at Jerome. "This team is pretty close, but I think because of the chemistry involved in playing basketball, the closer we are, the more we behave like family on the court and off the court and the better team we're going to be. This gives us an opportunity to spend time together and become a better basketball team."

The Kaylee Scholarship Association, also known as KSA Events, holds a series of basketball tournaments in Orlando in December.

Central Ohio programs have competed in these tournaments, which feature three games over three days, for several years. The Jerome girls will be joined in a KSA tournament by the Dublin Scioto and Delaware boys teams.

Also in Florida, the Olentangy Liberty boys and girls teams will compete in the Innisfree Hotels Pensacola Beach Classic from Dec. 27-29.

Although it's not a tournament setup, each team is guaranteed three games over three days.

According to Liberty girls coach Sam Krafty, his team originally was hoping to play in Tampa before deciding to join the same tournament as the boys team.

The girls will face two programs from Georgia and one from Kentucky, while the boys will play teams from Tennessee, Louisiana and Georgia.

"We saw the tourney on a website," Patriots boys coach Greg Nossaman said. "The guy that runs it is from Ohio and he's a great guy."

Chip Boes, who earned a master's degree from Bowling Green, is co-director of the event.

*ALSO TRAVELING -- Other central Ohio teams that will make out-of-state trips include the Pickerington Central and Reynoldsburg girls and the Central, DeSales, Worthington Kilbourne and Harvest Prep boys.

The defending Division I state champion Central girls squad will compete in the eight-team Pat Summit bracket of the Title IX Holiday Invitational in Washington, D.C., from Dec. 27-29. The bracket includes programs from Illinois, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Hawaii.

Reynoldsburg, which competed in Tampa, Florida, last winter, will travel to Wilmington, Delaware, for the eight-team Diamond State Classic from Dec. 27-30.

In boys tournaments, Central is heading to Ferndale, Michigan, for the Motor City Roundball Classic, DeSales and Kilbourne both will compete in the Bethel Park (Pennsylvania) Holiday Tournament and Harvest Prep will play in the Joe Machens Great 8 Classic in Jefferson City, Missouri.

The Hartley and Ready boys teams will travel to Tuscarawas Central Catholic for the Dover-Phila Credit Union Holiday Shootout, with the Hawks competing Dec. 28 and 29 and the Silver Knights playing Dec. 28.

Hilliard Davidson will play Dec. 28 and 29 in the Lady Viking Classic at North Canton Hoover.

*LOCAL FLAVOR -- Those looking to take in games in central Ohio over the holiday break will have plenty of options.

Four-team tournaments will be held Dec. 28 and 29 at Grandview in the Bobcat Holiday Classic, Dec. 27 and 28 at DeSales in the Roosters Holiday Classic and Dec. 27 and 28 at Briggs in the Bruin Holiday Tournament.

There also are several one- and two-day showcases.

On Saturday, Dec. 22, at Capital, Pickerington North plays Columbus East and Reynoldsburg, Columbus South, Hilliard Davidson and Hilliard Bradley also will be in attendance for the Coaches for a Cure.

Otterbein will play host Dec. 27 to the Phil Brown Holiday Classic, which features the Westerville Central, Westerville North and Westerville South boys and girls teams. The headlining boys game will be held at 6:45 p.m. between North, which was a Division I district runner-up last season, and Bradley, which was a district champion.

The Dublin Coffman, Jerome and Reynoldsburg boys teams will join host Thomas Worthington on Dec. 28 and 29 in the Stephen Gussler Invitational.

In girls action, Coffman will play host to three games Dec. 28 and two contests Dec. 29.

The finale Dec. 28 features the Shamrocks against Africentric at 7:30 p.m. Coffman is led by Ohio State signee Jacy Sheldon and the Nubians feature Tennessee recruit Jordan Horston.

Schedule

Below is a list of boys and girls basketball tournaments and showcases involving central Ohio teams over the holiday break (event information subject to change):

BOYS

Bethel Park Holiday Tournament

*Where: Bethel Park, Pa.

*Schedule: Dec. 27 -- 2 p.m.: DeSales vs. Erie (Pa.) McDowell; 4 p.m.: Worthington Kilbourne vs. Bethel Park (Pa.); Dec. 28 -- TBA: Consolation; TBA: Championship

Bobcat Holiday Classic

*Where: Grandview

*Schedule: Dec. 28 -- 6 p.m.: Johnstown vs. Jonathan Alder; 7:30 p.m.: Grandview vs. Grove City Christian; Dec. 29 -- 6 p.m.: Consolation; 7:30 p.m.: Championship

Bruin Holiday Tournament

*Where: Briggs

*Schedule: Dec. 27 -- 5 p.m.: Columbus Academy vs. Columbus East; 6:50 p.m.: Briggs vs. Franklin Heights; Dec. 28 -- 5 p.m.: Consolation; 6:50 p.m.: Championship

Coaches for a Cure

*Where: Capital

*Schedule: Dec. 22 -- 1 p.m.: Columbus East vs. Pickerington North; 2:45 p.m.: Reynoldsburg vs. Cincinnati Princeton; 4:30 p.m.: Columbus South vs. Jonathan Alder; 6:30 p.m.: Hilliard Davidson vs. Logan; 8:15 p.m.: Hilliard Bradley vs. Springfield

Dover-Phila Credit Union Holiday Shootout

*Where: Tuscarawas Central Catholic

*Schedule (local teams only): Dec. 28 -- 4:30 p.m.: Ready vs. Parma Heights Holy Name; 6:15 p.m.: Hartley vs. Dayton Chaminade Julienne; Dec. 29 -- 2:45 p.m.: Hartley vs. Middletown Fenwick

Innisfree Hotels Pensacola Beach Classic

*Where: Pensacola, Fla.

*Schedule (local team only): Dec. 27 -- 1 p.m.: Olentangy Liberty vs. Memphis (Tenn.) Christian Brothers; Dec. 28 -- 6 p.m.: Liberty vs. New Orleans Brother Martin; Dec. 29 -- 1 p.m.: Liberty vs. Johns Creek (Ga.)

Ironton Classic

*Where: Ironton

*Schedule (local team only): Dec. 22 -- 4:45 p.m.: Africentric vs. Huntington (W.Va.)

Joe Machens Great 8 Classic

*Where: Jefferson City, Mo.

*Schedule (local team only): Dec. 27 -- 4 p.m.: Harvest Prep vs. Wardsville (Mo.) Blair Oaks; Dec. 28 -- 4 p.m.: Harvest Prep-Blair Oaks loser vs. Jefferson City (Mo.) Helias Catholic-Mount Lebanon (Pa.) loser; 7 p.m.: Harvest Prep-Blair Oaks winner vs. Helias Catholic-Mount Lebanon (Pa.) winner; Dec. 29 -- 2:30 p.m.: Seventh-place game; 4 p.m.: Fifth-place game; 5:30 p.m.: Third-place game; 7 p.m.: Championship

KSA Events Holiday Tournament

*Where: Orlando

*Schedule (local teams only): Dec. 27 -- 2 p.m. (blue bracket): Delaware vs. North Lauderdale (Fla.) Somerset Prep; 3:30 p.m. (black bracket): Dublin Scioto vs. Radnor (Pa.); Dec. 28 -- 9:30 a.m. (blue bracket): Delaware-Somerset Prep winner vs. Tiverton (R.I.)-Redmond (Wash.) Overlake School winner or Delaware-Somerset Prep loser vs. Tiverton (RI)-Overlake School loser; 11 a.m.: Scioto-Radnor winner vs. Golden Glades (Fla.) Northwest Christian-Lake Mary (Fla.) Prep winner or Scioto-Radnor loser vs. Northwest Christian-Lake Mary Prep loser; Dec. 29 -- 9:30 a.m. (black bracket): Seventh-place game, fifth-place game, third-place game, championship; 2 p.m. (blue bracket): Seventh-place game, fifth-place game, third-place game, championship

Motor City Roundball Classic

*Where: Ferndale, Mich.

*Schedule (local team only): Dec. 28 -- 6:20 p.m.: Pickerington Central vs. Williamston (Mich.); Dec. 30 -- 1:20 p.m.: Pickerington Central vs. Lakeshore (Mich.) St. Clair Shores

Mount Vernon Nazarene Invitational

*Where: Mount Vernon Nazarene

*Schedule (local teams only): Dec. 22 -- 12:45 p.m.: Marysville vs. Heath; 6 p.m.: Westerville North vs. Cincinnati St. Xavier; 7:45 p.m.: Olentangy Orange vs. Mentor

Phil Brown Holiday Classic

*Where: Otterbein

*Schedule: Dec. 27 -- 11:45 a.m.: Westerville Central vs. Bellefontaine; 3:30 p.m.: Westerville South vs. Toledo Waite; 6:45 p.m.: Westerville North vs. Hilliard Bradley

Stephen Gussler Invitational

*Where: Thomas Worthington

*Schedule: Dec. 28 -- 2 p.m.: Dublin Jerome vs. Proctorville Fairland; 3:45 p.m.: Reynoldsburg vs. Brunswick; 5:30 p.m.: Dublin Coffman vs. Liberty Township Lakota East; 7:15 p.m.: Thomas Worthington vs. Melbourne (Australia) Ringwood Secondary College; Dec. 29 — 2 p.m.: Reynoldsburg vs. Ringwood; 3:45 p.m.: Jerome vs. Lakota East; 5:30 p.m.: Coffman vs. Fairland; 7:15 p.m.: Thomas vs. Brunswick

GIRLS

Diamond State Classic

*Where: Wilmington, Del.

*Schedule (local team only): Dec. 27 -- 1:15 p.m.: Reynoldsburg vs. Bladensburg (Md.) Elizabeth Seton; Dec. 28 -- 10:45 a.m.: Reynoldsburg-Seton loser vs. Wilmington Delaware Military-Brooklyn (N.Y.) St. Joseph loser; 7 p.m.: Reynoldsburg-Seton winner vs. Delaware Military-St. Joseph winner; Dec. 29 or 30 -- Reynoldsburg vs. TBA

Innisfree Hotels Pensacola Beach Classic

*Where: Pensacola Beach, Fla.

*Schedule (local team only): Dec. 27 -- 10 a.m.: Liberty vs. Johns Creek (Ga.); Dec. 28 -- 4 p.m.: Liberty vs. Dry Ridge (Ky.) Grant County; Dec. 29 -- 10 a.m.: Liberty vs. Lawrenceville (Ga.) Mountain View

KSA Events Holiday Tournament

*Where: Orlando

*Schedule (local team only): Dec. 27 -- 9:30 a.m. (orange bracket): Dublin Jerome vs. Pisgah (N.C.); Dec. 28 -- 12:30 p.m.: Jerome-Pisgah winner vs. Miami Northwestern-Sharpsville (Pa.) winner or Jerome-Pisgah loser vs. Miami-Northwestern-Sharpsville (Pa.) loser; Dec. 29 -- 3:30 p.m.: Seventh-place game, fifth-place game, third-place game, championship

Jeff Sheets Holiday Classic

*Where: Teays Valley

*Schedule: Dec. 27 -- 6 p.m.: Fairfield Christian vs. Linden-McKinley; 7:30 p.m.: Teays Valley vs. Hartley; Dec. 29 -- 6 p.m.: Circleville vs. Linden; 7:30 p.m. Teays Valley vs. Grove City

Lady Rocks Holiday Classic

*Where: Dublin Coffman

*Schedule: Dec. 28 -- 4 p.m.: Hamilton Badin vs. Youngstown Austintown-Fitch; 5:45 p.m.: Hamilton (Ontario) Lincoln Prep vs. Solon; 7:30 p.m.: Africentric vs. Coffman; Dec. 29 -- Noon: Austintown-Fitch vs. Lincoln Prep; 1:45 p.m.: Canal Winchester vs. Solon

Phil Brown Holiday Classic

*Where: Otterbein

*Schedule: Dec. 27 -- 10 a.m.: Westerville Central vs. Watkins Memorial; 1:30 p.m.: Westerville South vs. Sylvania Southview; 5 p.m.: Westerville North vs. Logan

Roosters Holiday Classic

*Where: DeSales

*Schedule: Dec. 27 -- 3:05 p.m.: New Albany vs. Olentangy Orange; 6:30 p.m.: DeSales vs. Ringwood (Australia) Secondary College; Dec. 28 -- 3:05 p.m.: Consolation; 6:30 p.m.: Championship

Title IX Holiday Invitational

*Where: Washington, D.C.

*Schedule (local team only): Dec. 27 -- 6 p.m.: Pickerington Central vs. Baltimore Roland Park Country School; Dec. 28 -- 6 p.m.: Pickerington Central vs. Oxon Hill (Md.) National Christian Academy or Honolulu 'Iolani School; Dec. 29 -- 11 a.m.: Seventh-place game; 3:30 p.m.: Fifth-place game; 6:30 p.m.: Third-place game: 7:30 p.m.: Championship

Lady Viking Classic

*Where: North Canton Hoover

*Schedule (local team only): Dec. 28 -- 6 p.m.: Hilliard Davidson vs. Canton Central Catholic; Dec. 29 -- 2:30 p.m.: Davidson vs. Hoover

Watterson Christmas Classic

*Where: Watterson

*Schedule: Dec. 27 -- 1:30 p.m.: Grandview vs. Hilliard Bradley; 3:15 p.m.: Chillicothe vs. Hilliard Darby; Watterson vs. Cincinnati Seton; Dec. 28 -- 1:30 p.m.: Darby vs. Grandview; 3:15 p.m.: Bradley vs. Seton; 5 p.m.: Watterson vs. Chillicothe

West Side Classic

*Where: Westland

*Schedule: Dec. 28 -- 6 p.m.: Briggs vs. Ready; 8 p.m.: Westland vs. Franklin Heights; Dec. 29 -- 6 p.m.: Franklin Heights vs. Ready; 8 p.m.: Westland vs. Briggs

julrey@thisweeknews.com

@UlreyThisWeek