It is another big day in Pioneer Pavilion on Saturday. The Lady Pioneers play for a spot in the national tournament.
Even though this has been the status quo for the Lady Pioneers, this season the game will be played in Pioneer Pavilion.
That is where the fans come into play. High school basketball state tournament games are far away and this is in your back door.
The great thing about the Lady Pioneers, for the most part, is that they are small town girls from the area. There are six classifications in Arkansas high school basketball. One of the Lady Pioneers is a Class 6A starter and then the rest are Class 4A and below. Most of the players on the team can get home in less then 90 minutes.
Three of the starters on the Lady Pioneers' team are in the Daily Times coverage area. We have Leah Shellnut of Jasper, Madison Moore of Valley Springs and Kelcee Hopper of Berryville.
They deserve an audience there cheering for them today. I urge you to go to the game to help the Lady Pioneers move on to the national tournament.
If you have attended a North Arkansas College basketball camp, then you can get into the game for free.
Speaking of getting into games, basketball fans that enjoy a trip to the state finals in Hot Springs will have a rude wakeup call.
The Arkansas Activities Association has duped the fans of the high school basketball in the state. Next week for the finals weekend, things are going to be different.
Instead of making the trip to Hot Springs to watch the finals, fans will be making the trip to watch a game and then leave the facilities to come back later to watch another set of games.
Championship games start on Thursday morning for Class 1A. The girls will play at noon and the boys will play after that. Fans will then leave the stands. Fans will be permitted back in at 5 p.m. for the Class 2A set of games.
Friday morning rolls around and the Class 3A games start at noon. After the 3A boys contest, it is back out the door for fans. They can come back at 5 p.m. to watch Class 4A that begins at 6 p.m.
The same for Saturday for Class 5A and Class 6A.
Did I mention that you will get to pay each time that you come back inside to watch games? You can buy a one-day pass for $12 or each session for $8.
What does this do for the finals weekend? I don't know officially, but I don't feel that it is a service to the student athletes that will be playing in the game.
Each of my daughters had the privilege to play in the finals with Valley Springs. They both have very fond memories of the excitement of a pack Hot Springs Convention Center to play the games in.
Now, tell me how many fans will be there for the game at noon on Thursday for 1A girls? My best guess will be 1,500. That may be high. The best thing for the 1A girls is that Izard County Consolidated is playing after them and they will bring a crowd to watch one of the best teams in the state.
How many of the 1A fans will be staying around to watch the 2A game?
Does the AAA feel that this will help the attendance at the games?
I don't know, but I have been at the convention center before when the Hot Springs fire marshal has stopped allowing people into the facility before it had reached its capacity.
I know the there were parents who had very hard times getting into the gym to watch their kid play in the biggest game of the year.
This session trick will solve this, but how many finals fans will it lose?
Becky and I would make a yearly trip to the finals. It turned out to be a reunion for many of us. We would sit in the same section of the Pine Bluff Convention Center each year. There was a big group of us that strengthened friendships from that weekend.
Now, that is gone. How many people will stay away instead of having to tolerate the inconvenience that has been created?
For the sake of the kids, I hope that’s not the case.