Bass Pro Tournament of Champions canceled because of COVID-19; local tourney replacement
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (Edited News Release/KY3) - For 36 consecutive years, thousands of basketball fans have come together in Springfield for the No. 1 attended basketball tournament in the country. Due to concerns related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a smaller-scale Springfield R-12 Winter Classic featuring top-level regional talent will be held in place of the Tournament of Champions in 2021.
Basketball fans will still be able to witness high caliber basketball teams competing Jan 14-16 during a one-time winter classic tournament which will feature four teams from Missouri.
“We are disappointed that it won’t be possible to host the 2021 Tournament of Champions but protecting the health and well-being of our players, staff and fans is our top priority,” explained Mr. Josh Scott, Springfield Public Schools athletic director. “We’ve all learned this year the importance of being flexible so we are adapting, too.”
The modified tournament will feature DeSmet, Greenwood, Hartville and Kickapoo high schools. Two games will be scheduled for each night Jan. 14, 15 and 16 at JQH Arena. The tournament schedule and ticket information will be available soon.
“These teams will definitely be worth watching and are great examples of the athletic talent we have in Missouri,” Scott explained. “Greenwood and Hartville played a great game last year in the MSHSAA quarterfinals and Kickapoo and Greenwood met up last year in the Blue and Gold finals.”
All appropriate safety protocols will be implemented for the tournament, including social distancing and masking. “Scaling back to four teams will allow us to ensure that we are providing a safe environment and adhering to requirements of both MSU and MSHSAA.” Scott explained.
The bracket will be released on the Springfield Public Schools webpage at www.sps.org.
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