SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — It’s one of the premiere high school basketball tournaments in the country.
“It’s the Tournament of Champions,” Kickapoo head coach Mitch McHenry said. “It’s special and it’s fun and there is a lot of talent on every single team, but it’s a great opportunity for all of those kids, Zaide, and some of our kids that might not get talked about as much.”
Springfield Public Schools athletic director Josh Scott announced the field and the dates for the eight-team 38th annual Bass Pro Tournament of Champions at Kickapoo High School.
The Chiefs are one of the local teams in the field.
“It’s pretty cool,” Kickapoo guard Zaide Lowery said. “We have a great opportunity to just show our athleticism and how good we are to other teams.”
The other is Link Academy out of Branson.
A second-year program to-be that finished their inagural season as national runners-up.
“We are excited with Link,” Scott said. “That is a team that everybody wanted. After sierra Canyon last year, the name I have been getting the most is, what about Link? What about Link?”
“Springfield loves basketball. To witness that first hand and to be able to play there and always have sell-out home games,” Link Academy head coach Rodney Perry said. “Just the atmosphere and things like that.”
“I’ve known about it since I was a kid,” Link Academy forward Omaha Biliew said. “We would always watch the highlights with all of the alumni that are now in the NBA. It’s super great.”
Last year’s tournament was the highest attended in the 37 year history, with Bronny James and Sierra Canyon playing Paul VI on championship night.
“I think we had the third-largest attendance of any game at JQH with our 10,800, but what this does is just solidifies that we are never done trying to make this event better,” Scott said.
“Just the fans really,” Lowery said. “There are a lot of people that come out to watch those games and enjoy it. We just try to put on a show for them.”
Of course right in the middle of championship night is the dunk contest and Lowery plans to be right in the thick of it for a second straight year.
“I think so, I think I’ll be able to be in it again,” Lowery said.