The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


January 19, 2014

Lancer Classic tips off tonight

The annual Cherokee Southeast Lancer Classic tips off today with four basketball games.

It appeared as if the Lancer Classic was tottering at the end of last season.

But the addition of the Baxter Springs boys and the Foyil (Okla.) boys and girls has injected new life into the event.

Games today will see the Oswego girls vs. Foyil at 4 p.m., Oswego boys vs. Foyil at 5:30, Columbus girls vs. St. Paul at 7 and Columbus boys vs. St. Paul at 8:30.

“We put in a lot of time and effort to keep it going,” Southeast athletics director Frank Pittman said Sunday night. “We’re excited about the future. We believe we’ll have a couple more teams next year.

“It would be sad to lose something that’s been in the community and area for a long time,” Pittman said. “The Lancer Classic is more than 20 years old. It’s a tradition. You try to keep it going.

“Foyil was in the NEO (Northeastern Oklahoma A&M) Tournament last season, and the boys won a championship,” Pittman said. “We had to negotiate with them since they had contracts for Tuesday games. Baxter Springs’ boys were in the Frontenac Tournament last year.”

Foyil’s boys nudged Quapaw 43-42 to claim the Norse Division at NEO in 2013. The Foyil girls won two games after a first-round setback.

Said Pittman: “We’ve added another day to the tournament in an attempt to keep all the games in the East Gym. Thus we’re opening on Monday rather than Tuesday.”

The championship in the six-team, two-pool boys division will be settled at 8:30 p.m. on Friday. There are five teams in the girls division.

“I haven’t decided on how we’re going to determine the girls winner,” Pittman insisted. “I don’t want to make the decision on my own. I want to do what they — the coaches — want to do. I want a fair decision.

“We’ll probably cap games at 20 points, go head-to-head and use points allowed perhaps as a third criteria,” Pittman said.

Wichita Sunrise Christian Academy didn’t return to defend titles.

Sunrise beat Columbus 50-40 in the boys’ final after the Titans won Pool B at 2-0 and Sunrise rolled through Pool A.

The scenario was the same in the girls division with Sunrise Christian handling Columbus 59-34.


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