By Les Dixon
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
After being played at Harlan County High School this past season, the 13th Region Boys and Girls Basketball Tournaments are back at The Arena.
Host Jackson County High School and Connie Hunt, general manager of The Arena, have agreed to bring both tournaments back to The Arena for the 2013-14 season.
Both tournaments had been held at The Arena from 2010-2012 after a 13-4 vote from the 13th Region athletic directors before being moved to Harlan County High School this past year.
“It’s rotated back to the 49th District as the host, and it’s Jackson County’s turn to host, and it is back at The Arena,” 13th Region Policy Board Chairman Larry Warren said. “The Arena is a special venue. It’s fan friendly and it has great parking. The big thing is that you don’t have to have split sessions there. It’s a very special venue.”
Hunt said she was excited to have both tournaments back at The Arena.
“We’re excited once again to be able to host the 13th Region Tournament,” she said. “We walked out of our meeting on a handshake deal that it would be here at The Arena in 2014.
“We’re really excited,” Hunt added. “We’re excited to be able to work with Jackson County High School.”
Hunt confirmed each school in the 13th Region will receive $1,500 apiece.
“Yes, we will be doing that. There were a few minor changes on some things,” she said. “but nothing significant.”
She also confirmed student tickets will be $5.
Jackson County High School Athletic Director Wes Bishop was pleased that his school and The Arena officials were able to work things out.
“We are really excited to host it (there),” he said. “It’s a centralized location for everyone. We’ll probably start looking on starting to work on things right after the spring sports end.”
Jackson County Principal Keith Hays couldn’t be reached Wednesday due to a meeting in Richmond, but said a couple of weeks ago during talks between his school and officials at The Arena there were a lot of positives to moving it there.
“We just don’t have the parking or the seating to have two regional games in one night,” he said. “So, we want to have it at The Arena. I’m Jackson County all the way. But Jackson County and Harlan County are the extremes when it comes to traveling to the farthest locations. Corbin is more of a central location, and it would only make sense to have it at The Arena.”
Williamsburg High School will be next in line to host both tournaments in 2014-15 and principal Gary Peters confirmed his school will go the route of playing the tournaments at The Arena, too.
“We will do the same thing,” he said. “We like our gym, but we just don’t have the seating or the parking and you don’t want to do split sessions, so we will want to have it at The Arena, too. It’s a centralized location.”
Les Dixon is the sports editor of The Times-Tribune.