Troy State set to host high
Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 22, 2000
school basketball frenzy
By STEVEN G. WATSON
Hold it. Do you hear that? If I’m not mistaken it sounds like an army of sneaker-wearing basketball players bearing down on us.
There’s a good reason for that sense of invasion people around Troy have been experiencing. It’s called the Southeast Regional and if you’re a high school basketball fan then you’re about to get a rather large dose of medicine starting today.
Troy State will be the host as 48 teams converge on the TSU campus and compete for a chance to represent the southeast in Birmingham for the state’s high school basketball finals. That’s 36 games with only one team from each class (1A through 6A) remaining after all is said and done.
It’s Regional time and it doesn’t get much better for basketball fans.
While the Charles Henderson High School girls’ team will be the only team from Pike County to participate in the event, each game will take on that "do-or-die" type atmosphere in the single-elimination tournament and will prove to be very exciting.
TSU Assistant Athletic Director Tom Strother is overseeing the five-day event and expects a lot of great action when the ball is tipped this morning.
"It’s a lot of high school basketball and a lot of work, but it’s a lot of fun also," Strother said. "This place will be packed most of the time with two and three thousand people showing up at a time. It’s always a good time and an incredible atmosphere for all the fans. Every team that comes in here has the chance to go to Birmingham to the State Championship round."
Strother says this is a chance for TSU to shine as well.
"It gives our University a chance to display what we’re proud of and what we have," Strother said. "A big part of the tournament is the facility and obviously we’re extremely proud of Trojan Arena. I think we have one of the nicer facilities among the Regional Tournaments. They’re on campus, get to walk around, see the students go to and from class and they get to be part of the atmosphere. I think this is a great showpiece for Troy State University."
As for TSU men’s head coach Don Maestri, the Troy State coaching staff will only have to walk a few yards out of their offices to scout some of the best the state has to offer in future recruits.
"It’s nice for them to come here because a lot of them would never see Troy State otherwise," Maestri said. "In terms of exposure it’s a great thing for us. When you talk about the better players on the teams that have won during the year it doesn’t get better than this. You get a chance to see the best players in this area all at one time. That’s why tournaments are so important in recruiting because you can see so many games at one time."
Without a doubt each team will leave everything they have on the court, win or lose. This is the stuff dreams are made of when it comes to high school sports. And aren’t we lucky? It’s all happening in our back yard!