The Fourth annual Clarion Inn Southwest Classic tips off today with six games scheduled at three different sites, with Holcomb, Scott City and Garden City hosting teams from Kansas City-Christian (Leawood), Wichita Trinity and Pueblo, Colo. East.
Garden City and Holcomb will have to wait until Saturday night to renew what is now an annual Ark River Rivalry battle at The Garden.
Tonight, the Lady Buffs and Buffs will play host to Pueblo, (Colo.) East at 6 p.m. and 7:45 p.m. at The Garden while Holcomb’s pair of Longhorn teams play at the same times on their home floor vs. Kansas City-Christian.
Scott City’s Beavers, the third host team of the Classic, opens their 2014-15 season with girls and boys games at home against Wichita Trinity Academy. Games times at Scott City also are at 6 and 7:45 p.m.
Friday’s action will see all three southwest Kansas schools again playing at home, switching opponents with the visitors from Colorado, central and eastern Kansas. Game times remain the same with all girls games at 6 p.m. and boys to follow at 7:45.
Wichita Trinity visits Garden City, Holcomb hosts Pueblo East and Scott City entertains Kansas City-Christian.
Saturday’s schedule brings a new twist, with all games being played at GCHS’ The Garden.
Kansas City Christian and Wichita Trinity will have girls and boys games at 11:30 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. Scott City’s girls and boys follow with games against Pueblo East at 2:30 and 4:15 p.m.
That sets the stage for the final two games of the night, the fourth season in a row that the Buffs and Longhorns will tangle as the two next door neighbors in Finney County battle it out in the renewal of the Ark River Rivalry.
The Buffs opened their 2014-15 campaigns last week at The Hays City Shootout, the boys going 2-1 and placing third, defeating TMP-Marian and Great Bend, sandwiched around a tough 2-point loss to Olathe North. The Lady Buffs, meanwhile, opened with a win over TMP but then suffered losses to Newton and Great Bend to come away at 1-2.
Holcomb’s squads, meanwhile, opened on the road at Class 5A Liberal, with the No. 5-ranked Lady Longhorns capturing a 64-52 triumph over the Lady Redskins while the boys, the early No. 1-ranked team in Class 4A-II, also prevailed, taking a 73-64 win over Liberal.
Pueblo East’s boys enter the Classic with a 3-1 record, and wins over Englewood, Berthoud and Skyline with the lone loss to Lewis-Palmer. East’s girls, meanwhile, are 2-2, victories coming against George Washington and Mesa Ridge with losses at the hands of Horizon and Legend.
Wichita Trinity’s teams opened play last Friday at Cheney, the boys claiming a 65-57 victory and the girls edging past Cheney 58-54.
Kansas City-Christian is a non-KSHSAA affiliated approved school that competes outside the state activities association. KSHSAA does allow games against KC Christian to be included in teams’ won-loss records.
The Lions’ boys squad thus far has compiled an 11-6 record, having played teams from Wisconsin, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Virginia, Kansas and Nebraska. The Lady Lions enter with a 2-5 record, with wins over Grandview (Mo.) Christian and University Academy Charter of Kansas City, Mo.
In the inaugural Southwest Classic in 2011, two teams were brought in and switched opponents between the Buffs and Longhorns, with the two Finney County schools playing for the first time at the Perryman Athletic Complex on the Garden City Community College campus.
Garden City won both of those games, the boys coming away with a 41-28 victory and the Lady Buffs going into overtime to win a dramatic 57-56 decision.
In 2013, the teams met in late January during the regular season, and then repeated the same schedule a season ago. Holcomb’s boys have won the last two, 70-59, and 66-55, winning both at The Garden and at Holcomb.
Garden City’s girls won round two by a 67-54 count, but then the Lady Longhorns came up with a 51-48 victory on their home floor.