Mustangs awarded Class 2A State basketball tournament

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Buffalo Island Central boasts four state basketball championships, but for the first time in school history, the Mustangs will play host to a state basketball tournament. BIC was awarded the bid to host the 2011 Class 2A State Basketball Tournament which will be held Feb. 28-March 5 at the Mustang Athletic Complex in Monette. The MAC holds a seating capacity of 1800, not including standing room.

Elementary Principal Dr. Kima Stewart gave BIC's presentation to the Arkansas Athletic Association board in place of Mustang Athletic Director Stan Fowler, who was unable to attend due to a previously scheduled Lady Mustang basketball game.

"It's a thrill to be awarded the state tournament," Stewart said. "Coach Fowler was originally going to be our speaker, but he was where he should be, coaching his team."

Stewart turned in a remarkable pinch hit performance in Fowler's absence. Each school is allowed three minutes to speak to the AAA Board, but Stewart held her presentation to a 90 second speech. The voting came down to a three-way tie between BIC, Marmaduke and Carlisle. After a second vote, it remained a three-way tie before the third vote narrowed the selection down to BIC and Carlisle. In the end, the Mustangs were awarded the prestigious tournament.

In speaking to the AAA Board, Stewart said," Buffalo Island is unique in that we are ALL about basketball...not football, volleyball, soccer or sports in general. Basketball is our social event from November through March each year, and basketball is an equal sport for both males and females for us. In 2005 we moved into the Mustang Athletic Complex. The facility was built with the intention and hopes of hosting elite tournaments for our area and the facility exceeds every minimum requirement for this purpose. From parking to seating, hospitality to concessions, we are ready to go. We have the experience to host a top notch tournament and we are committed to putting the safety of athletes first by guaranteeing Certified Athletic Trainers from Arkansas Methodist Hospital on-site for the duration of the event. So as we tell our teams on Game Day, let's meet at the MAC for the 2011 State Tournament," concluded Stewart in her speech.

Stewart was accompanied by High School Principal Randy Rose and head boys Basketball Coach Garrett Eoff.

"I think this is going to be beneficial, not only for our school but for the other schools in our conference as well as all of Northeast Arkansas," added Stewart.

Both Eoff and Fowler were ecstatic about the Mustangs receiving the state tournament bid. Fowler, whose Lady Mustangs are ranked number one in the state in Class 2A, said some of the advantages will include bigger home crowds, staying in-home rather than in a hotel room, and being able to go about daily activities without as many distractions. "Obviously, all of this depends on us keeping our focus and making the tournament," said Fowler. "Since the girls found out about the bid, their focus has increased and they are extremely excited about the opportunity to play in a state tournament on our home floor."

Eoff said hosting the state tournament is like putting a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. "Going to the state tournament is one of our main goals," said Eoff. "It just gives us a sweeter incentive if we can make it. Having it at our place is something to really be proud of."

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