The Forsyth Basketball Tournament got underway this week and it is noticeably different. NO BRANSON!!!!! The Pirates have instead opted to join the Lady Pirates in hosting the Battle at the Border.
So, for the fist time since 2003 we will have a Champion that is not Branson or Harrison and we will have our first Championship game that does not include at least one of those schools since 2000. Now, that being said it looks to be an outstandingly competitive tournament.
If the first round was any indication the rest of the action will be tremendous. Only top seeded Walnut Grove cruised in the first round. Second seeded Reeds Spring fell to #7 Hollister. School of the Ozarks was the six seed but gave #3 West Plains all they wanted before the Zizzer’s finally held on in the final minute. And the host Forsyth Panthers went on an 8-2 run to end the game and come from behind to beat #4 Mountain Home.
What does all of this mean? Well, it looks like a pretty even field. Walnut Grove is the smallest school in the field (9-12 enrollment of only 81) but they have to be the odds on favorites. Let me tell you the town in basketball crazy and they can play the game.
Flippin is noticeably down from the teams they have brought to Forsyth the past few years. But with all honesty Seeds 2-7 you could almost have put in a hat and drawn names.
Reeds Spring and School of the Ozarks will meet in Thursdays first Consolation Semi-Final. These two met last year in the opening round and if not for Reno Randall’s buzzer beater, the Patriots would have pulled the upset. That game can be heard right here by clicking on the live broadcast tab at the top of the page. The two Arkansas schools will meet in the other game.
Friday night should be a great night of basketball. Hollister and West Plains will tip at 6. Can the small school keep its new coach undefeated for another game? Or, will the rebuilding larger school use its mass numbers to its advantage? Then state ranked class one Walnut Grove will try to beat the host Panthers on their own floor.
This will all set up a Saturday finale that will include all eight schools. As always its an incredible kickoff to the high school basketball season.