Metro basketball tournament to be held at West

Jacki Petrow, Editor-in-Chief

The Metro Holiday Basketball tournament will be held at Bellevue West this year, a change from the past few years as it’s been held in larger arenas. The opportunity to host has been considered a blessing by many involved with the event.

Activities director Jon Mauro explained that this tournament is a part of the Metro High Schools Activities Association (MHSAA), which consists of 21 schools from the Omaha Metro area and holds yearly tournaments for all high school sports.

“[The basketball tournament is] always held over that holiday break,” Mauro said. “This year, there’s a couple of games before the break, and then there’s a large part after the break. So it’s a conference basketball tournament and this year, we’re fortunate enough to be able to host it.”

Mauro also specified the significance of this event being at West this year, emphasizing the difference between this and previous years. For example, last year it was held in the Baxter Arena.

“There was a point in time when it was at the high schools where we wanted to play in bigger arenas, because we felt like it gave the players an opportunity to play at an arena like they would at the state tournament,” Mauro said. “So that was a driving factor. And we were able to do that where it was financially reasonable.”

This change means that many of these tournament games for the West basketball teams will be played at their own school. However, boys basketball coach Doug Woodard said that this has balanced nicely with the locations of their other games.

“We’re going to play a lot of road games this year,” Woodard said. “And we’re going to play on several neutral sites against really good basketball teams.”

 Although different basketball courts are still very similar places to play, the key difference, according to senior Faith Elmore, is the size of the student section. While games held at Bellevue West tend to attract a larger student section, away games have comparatively fewer students watching.

Elmore said that this matters because “our student section brings confidence and atmosphere.”

Woodard said that overall he was looking forward to the opportunity.

“I think it’s great that it’s here,” Woodard said. “I think they’ll get good crowds. I think it’s a very good gym.”