by Bill Bush
SEDGWICK—The 40th Annual Steve Shepherd Invitational Girls’ Basketball Tournament will be held on Jan. 28th, 30th, and 31st. Game times are 6:00 and 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday. All eight teams will play both nights. The Friday games will be at 3:00, 4:30, 6:00, and 7:30 p.m.
Two big changes are happening this year.
For the first time the final round games will be played on Friday instead of Saturday. Sedgwick Athletic Director Diane Davison said the change serves two purposed. First, they struggle every year to get the needed help to run the tournament all day on Saturday. She thinks that people are used to games being on Fridays and it will make it easier to get volunteers to run everything.
The second reason is that it gives them Saturday to fall back on if there is a weather situation that causes them to miss a day of games. Prior to this year they would have to move the Saturday games to Monday, the only option as most teams return to their regular Tuesday games the following week.
“We’re just gonna see how well it goes over, see if Friday works a bit better,” Davison said.
The second change in this year’s tournament is that last year’s participant Fairfield has left and been replaced by Sunrise Christian Academy.
Sunrise sits with a 7-2, which would give them the #1 seed. Clearwater and Inman both have 5-3 records, then Wichita Independent is 4-4. Currently, Sedgwick sits at the #5 seed with a 3-4 record, followed by Belle Plaine (4-6) and then Canton/Galva and Anthony/Harper Chaparral with identical 3-5 records.
The seedings are not yet determined as some teams may still have games before the release of the bracket on Wednesday, which happened after the paper went to press.
Sedgwick is the defending champions, winning their own tournament last year for the first time.
Davison is in her fifth year to organize the tournament and said she had to make sure records and the bracket was correct, the hospitality room and locker rooms were ready, she had enough volunteers to run the scoreboards, clocks, concession stands and to host the teams.
“Everybody that’s ran a tournament it’s a huge undertaking, there’s a lot of moving parts, and it takes a lot of workers,” Davison said. “I’ve been very blessed to have people that are dedicated to helping out.”
The football and baseball teams will run the concession stands, something they first did last year during a home sub-state game. Davison said they saw how much money they made for their team and agreed to do it for the tournament.
Davison said she has students that host the basketball teams each night, and she doesn’t even have to recruit.
“I have students ask and volunteer,” she said. “Kudos to our kids. We know we’re blessed with some really great students here and they’ll just offer and say, ‘Hey, do you need some help with the tournament?’ It an all school effort and it takes all of us to pull it off. I’m extremely fortunate to just have good people and great students that are willing to help.”
The cost to get in is $5 for adults and $4 for students.