Throughout the six previous years of the Clarion Inn Roundball Classic, there have been constants in that Garden City and Holcomb, the two Finney County high schools, have been hosts to the early-season home games.
When the event was first hatched in 2011, it was just the Buffaloes and Longhorns playing host to two visiting teams and then facing off against each other in the Saturday finale at the Perryman Athletic Complex at Garden City Community College.
The event has evolved, changed and expanded to where the host schools also include nearby Scott City.
Since the Beavers were added to the mix, school officials agreed that each host local school would host games on their home floors on Thursday and Friday against visiting teams. On the final day, Saturday, all the teams now play games at The Garden on the campus of Garden City High School.
On alternating years, the Buffaloes now play Holcomb and Scott City, thus the two Great West Activities Conference rivals (Holcomb/Scott City) don't play each other. They get that opportunity twice during the regular season.
It makes for a lot of basketball over a three-day period, and fans can get a full menu of both girls and boys basketball.
This year, GCHS athletic director Drew Thon, along with his colleagues Jerry Johnson in Holcomb and Randy Huck at Scott City, added in a new twist and the field now includes five visiting schools.
That group includes Wichita Trinity, Wichita Collegiate, Palmer Ridge, Colo., Pueblo (Colo.) Centennial and Dumas, Texas.
The Buffaloes girls and boys teams will play host on Thursday and Friday to Trinity and Dumas while Holcomb hosts Dumas and Trinity on the same two nights. Scott City will take on Palmer Ridge on Thursday and then Collegiate on Friday.
Tip-off for girls games on Thursday and Friday will be at 6 p.m. with boys games to follow at 7:30 p.m. Also at Garden City's auxiliary gym on Thursday and Friday, Pueblo Centennial will play Collegiate and then Palmer Ridge faces Pueblo Centennial.
That sets up a big basket full of basketball on Saturday, all at The Garden.
Tip-off for the eight scheduled games will be at 11 a.m. with a pair of girls games — Dumas facing Pueblo Centennial and Palmer Ridge taking on Trinity. In 12:45 p.m. games, it will be a pair of boys games between Dumas-Pueblo Centennial and Palmer Ridge-Trinity.
Following those two twinbills, all games move to just the main gymnasium at GCHS where Holcomb and Collegiate's girls will play at 2:30 p.m. That will be followed by Garden City and Scott City girls at 4:15 p.m., the Holcomb boys taking on Wichita Collegiate at 6 p.m. and Garden City meeting Scott City in the 7:45 p.m. finale.
There are no tournament champions since it is a non-bracketed event, and it also is not a round-robin event.
Garden City's teams opened the regular season last weekend at the Canyon, Texas, Tournament of Champions. The Buffaloes' boys went 2-1, falling to El Paso Hanks in the championship game. The Buffs girls, meanwhile, faced a murderer's row schedule and came home 0-3. Holcomb's Class 4A-II defending state champions opened their season with a 59-45 victory over Liberal despite having only four practices. The Longhorns were fresh off their Nov. 25 4A-II state football championship win over Frontenac. The Longhorn girls, meanwhile, fell 55-40 to Liberal in their opening game.
Scott City, meanwhile, got its 2017-18 season off to a winning start, with the girls defeating Wichita County, 52-28, behind Kaitlyn Roberts' 16 points. The Beaver boys recorded a 51-27 triumph over the Indians as Jordan Horn, Joe Evans and Marshall Faurot scored 9 points each.
Boys: 2-1. Lost 56-44 to El Paso Hanks in finals of Canyon, Texas Tournament of Champions on Saturday; def. Abilene Cooper, 43-26; and Canyon, 41-32. Leading scorer: Demarcus Elliott (12.3ppg).
Girls: 0-3. Lost to Canyon, 67-20; Abilene Wylie, 56-38; Wall, 39-26. Leading scorer: Josie Calzonetti (12.3ppg).
Boys: 1-0. Opened Friday with 59-45 win over 5A Liberal after just 4 practices following winning 4A-II state football championship on Nov. 25. Leading scorers: Kobe Dickson and Trey Gilbert, 14 pts., Devin Mader, 12 pts.
Girls: 0-1. Lost to 5A Liberal 55-40 in season opener on Friday. Leading scorer: Eboni Sapien, 8 points; 8 players scored for coach Nathan Novack.
Boys: 1-0. Opened Friday with 51-27 win over Wichita County. No players in double figures, but three players with 9 each (Jordan Horn, Joe Evans, Marshall Faurot).
Girls: 1-0. Opened with 52-28 victory over Wichita County. Kaitlyn Roberts led the way with 16 points, including 4 3-pointers. Beavers return nucleus from 4th place team at 2017 4A-II state tournament.
Boys: 1-0. Opened with 70-28 victory over Douglass.
Girls: 1-0. Season-opening win over Douglass, 43-35.
Boys: 0-0. 4th place finish in 2017 state tournament, losing to Pratt in semis, Topeka Hayden in 3rd place game; 2016 4A-II state champs with win over Hugoton.
Pueblo Centennial, Colo.
Boys: 0-3 (record incomplete). Losses to Green Mountain (70-43), Sand Creek (65-60), Colo. Springs Christian (88-63).
Girls: 1-4. Losses to Wheat Ridge (49-46), Pueblo Central (32-31), Florence (43-41), Colo. Springs Christian (72-28); win over Mitchell (32-17).
Palmer Ridge, Colo. (Monument)
Boys: 2-2. Lost first two games to Alamosa (57-31) and Elizabeth (48-44) then won last two over Montrose (40-33) and Canon City (50-30).
Girls: 3-0. Wins over Alamosa (42-35), Elizabeth (46-25) and Montrose (41-37), score n/a vs. Canon City.
Boys: 1-8. win over Pampa (51-49), losses to Clovis, N.M., Eastwood, Trinity Christian, Dalhart, Bushland, Lubbock, Coronado, Lubbock.
Girls: 3-2. Wins over Gruver, Dalhart, Sunray; Losses to Panhandle and Canadian. Score vs. Littlefield on Tuesday not available.