It's a milestone year for the National Junior College Athletic Association Region II Men's and Women's Basketball Tournaments.
For the 25th consecutive year, the 2020 tournaments will be played in Shawnee at Oklahoma Baptist University's Noble Complex, March 4-7.
The Region II committee is comprised of many of the same faces that began planning for the event in 1995 and hosted for the first time during this string of years in 1996.
Larry Smith, one of the co-chairmen when it was played at OBU in 1996, now chairs the committee.
“Robert Davenport, athletic director for OBU, has been a huge ally in our quest to continue to make this a great reward for the athletes but also for the citizens of the City of Shawnee,” said Smith. “Seminole State College and the Seminole community have played an integral role in the 25 years the tournament has been hosted in the community of Shawnee as did St. Gregory’s University in the few years it was there.”
Smith pointed out that it is the volunteers who have made this tournament possible throughout the years. In addition to Smith, L.D. Wortham, Lance Wortham, former St. Gregory’s head coach Don Sumner, Mike McCormick, Sue Snodgrass and Hope Pickering have been there from the outset as was the late Ken Fullbright.
Fullbright served as chairman for 23 years before he passed away in January of 2019 following a long, courageous battle with cancer.
“There have been seven or eight volunteers who have been there from the beginning,” Smith said. “We have a great group of guys and women who put this together. We have added some new people over the past few years. There have been five, six, seven of us who are always there.”
Those who have joined the committee through the years include Rick Gowin, Carl Packwood, Tim Barrick, Brad Walck, Kenny Howard, Rachael Melot, Nick Atwood, Amanda Johnson, Mike St. John, Davenport, Brian Dude and Tanner Morris.
Major sponsors include OG&E, Citizen Potawatomi Nation, Pottawatomie Telephone Co. and Bravado Wireless, The City of Shawnee’s Tourism Department and TS&H.
There will be four games played daily beginning on Wednesday, March 4, running through Friday, March 6, at 1, 3, 6 and 8 p.m. The final two championship games will be on Saturday afternoon at 2 and 4 p.m.
This year the women's first-round games will played on Wednesday, the men's first-round games on Thursday and each will play Friday and Saturday in the semifinals and finals.
“We’re helping kids move on to the next level. We’re giving them an opportunity to play before 40 or 50 college scouts and coaches,” said Smith.
Ticket prices are $20 to attend all the games. Individual session tickets are $10 for adults and $7 each for seniors and students, first grade through college.