Friday, October 15, 2010

LCT returning to county

Spiro will hold the finals of the annual LeFlore County Tournament in January of 2011.

The LCT returns back to LeFlore County after a two-year stint with the Friday and Saturday games played at UAFS in Fort Smith.

This has been a controversial subject and remains so. County superintendents discussed the issue at a meeting Monday and confirmed that Spiro is the host of the tournament this year.

Spiro had hoped to host the big games of the tournament in its new gymnasium. The gym is easily the nicest in the county, but there are a few problems with the move.

First, the finals have always been played at a neutral site.

Then, there is the attendance factor. During the finals last year at UAFS, a crowd of over 2,600 was in attendance. Spiro officials say they can seat 1,900 in their facility. That means crowds of at least 700 less than attended the games last year.

Also, the facility at UAFS is a big-time atmosphere. Again, Spiro’s gym is excellent, but not as nice as the Stubblefield Center.

There is also a concern about parking, which might necessitate a long walk to shuttle buses to take fans from the high school to the gymnasium.

Those are the cons, but there are plenty of pros. Many people did not like the county tournament leaving the county. Having to go out of state made it worse.

This will keep money in the county instead of going across the state line. With the economy like it is, every dollar kept here instead of being spent in Fort Smith will help.

I am glad the county tournament will be played in the county, like it should. But the biggest problem still is we do not have a facility to compete with the Stubblefield Center.

We need a multi-purpose facility that will hold at least 2,500 people at a central location. It is not fair for the residents in the south part of the county to have to travel all the way to Fort Smith, or even Spiro to play in the finals, although Spiro is not much farther than Poteau.

But that is a problem. There are simply not funds available to build a facility like that. The state does not have the money and I don’t believe the facility could generate enough income to pay for itself, even by hosting the county tournament, other tournaments along with concerts, plays, etc.
It is a shame the new civic center in Poteau was planned before CASC renovated its Mick Thompson Field House, which resulted in the loss of seating and the move of the county tournament to Fort Smith.

If you would like to discuss the LCT move to Spiro, we have a discussion on this at our forum.


  1. This is an unfortunate occurrence that will give Spiro an unfair advantage should they make it to finals. What steps are they going to take to ensure both finals teams are equally represented? We need a neutral site and if one cannot be provided in LeFlore county, we need to keep it at UFAS until that time arrives.

  2. Bullbutter! Keep it in the county. If nothing else, stream it over the web to those fans that can't get a seat. I always like to listen to it on KPRV without the hassle of having someone's elbow stuck in my ear in the stands...

  3. How about a seat lottery? How can you have a County tournament without the finals played in the County? Oxymoronic. I'm just sayin...

  4. I agree with 'anonymous.' Keep it at UAFS until which time a larger facility in Poteau, etc., is built. I've never seen the Spiro facility, but I'm sure it is nice. The county tournament followers shouldn't be forced to have to go to Spiro. I don't have a netter soloution, however.

  5. Another solution - Using Televideo capabilities at each of our county schools, with a decent projector at each school, have a place at the school where fans can go and watch it via televideo (auditorium, etc.) and charge them a slightly-reduced price at the door. Then they could see the semi-finals and finals right at the school and avoid driving to Ft Smith. Just an option. Limitless seating. One camera at the game, 50 yard line. Again, I'm just sayin...

  6. You can have a county tournament not in the county because county players compete. I don't like the idea of taking business out of our area, but it isn't fair to the players to have them play at a non-neutral site. If Spiro made finals, this can lead to an overwhelming number of Spiro fans attending that wouldn't normally attend. How can we guarantee equal representation of schools if it isn't at a neutral site? (other than a seat lottery that was previously mentioned). Keep it a UFAS if you want the fan numbers, or send it back to CASC and enforce fire code. (It doesn't really matter because the decision as been made, but I digress).

  7. I believe everyone should think about the precedent being set by hosting the finals @ Spiro. What happens next year when Bokoshe makes the same choice in their gym? If Spiro is given this opportunity, other schools will have the same opportunity. What about when the north schools are all having to drive south over the mountain in January for the finals?

  8. All the previous posts are centered around two things - the fans and money. I played in the LCT finals in CASC and I can tell you that the players only care about the game and the atmosphere. The bigger the gym, more fans attend, the better the game is for the players. That is why the LCT has become what it is - because of the atmosphere. You will only get that at the UAFS or CASC - otherwise it would be just another high school game at another high school gym. So consider the players and what they want when making these decisions, because the LCT shouldn't be about making $$ for the schools, it is about the great kids of LC and what is best for them.

  9. I completely agree with Amy! I am a huge basketball fan, and always attend many games throughout the week & the finals, but will not be attending the finals this year unless my hometown teams are in the finals. I do not like the idea of any games being played outside of the county, much less the state, but feel the finals should remain @ UAFS until there is a large enough facility available in Poteau. I say Poteau because it is the county seat and it is adequate for hosting a tournament of this magnitude. This has been a problem for numerous years & isn't going away. A previous post commented on the schools that will follow Spiros lead in hosting the finals & that is exactly what will happen. Most of the cities in the county do not have adequate restaurants, convenience stores, etc. for patrons to spend their money at anyway. I believe CASC should have put more thought into their renovations when they upgraded their facility. The LCT was the major fundraiser for the Viking baseball team, but that will not be happening this year!!! I do not know all the ins and outs of the new Reynolds center that is being built in Poteau, but I think it's absurd to build a facility that small, when it has been known for years that a larger one is needed!