Loaded field comes to the First City starting Thursday
Once again, the Citizen’s National Bank Invitational Tournament is ready to tip off in Leavenworth.
Thursday will mark the start of the 23rd edition of this epic boys’ basketball event and this year’s field could be the best in a long time.
The quarterfinal round includes the host Pioneers who will take on a powerful Hogan Prep Academy program at 6:30 p.m. (see full tournament schedule below). They will then play either in the semifinals Friday at 6:45 p.m. or the consolation bracket at 5 p.m.
“It is an outstanding field as usual,” LVHS head coach Larry Hogan said. “I believe Liberty, Park Hill South, Raytown South and Hogan Prep are all ranked in the metro. They bring great basketball tradition with fine teams again. The Kansas side has Topeka High, a very tough team, KC Washington, which has been a 5A power, and Blue Valley West, which has been a very solid team in the Eastern Kansas League for years.
“It will be an outstanding tournament with great early season games. Just a few years ago we had four teams in the field in which two were state champions and two state runners-up. It could very well be that way this year.”
The teams keep coming to the First City despite all of the other attractions and tournaments out there that pop up year after year. Yes, Leavenworth is still the place to be.
“We have continued to bring quality teams and offer a great early season experience to help build your team’s toughness and competitiveness,” Hogan said. “Although some coaches look for cupcakes to help your postseason rankings, there are those who understand that quality wins help prepare your team the most for league and tournament play.”
The current Pioneers started the season 0-1 with a disappointing performance in the season opener last week against Topeka Seaman.
“We did very few things well in the first game,” Hogan said. “We must improve in our overall team play. There are a lot of little basketball skills we are not performing at the level we need to be successful.
“Although we have worked on them very hard in practice, it must transfer to the game setting. Hopefully this weekend we will see that improvement. Our goal always is to win every game we play.”
23rd Annual Citizen’s National Bank Basketball Tournament schedule
Thursday, Dec. 7
Game 1: 3:15 p.m. KC Washington vs. Liberty
Game 2: 5 p.m. Topeka vs. Raytown South
Game 3: 6:45 p.m. LEAVENWORTH vs. Hogan Prep Academy
Game 4: 8:30 p.m. Blue Valley West vs. Park Hill South
Friday, Dec. 8
Losers of Game 1 and 2, 3:15 p.m.
Losers of Game 3 and 4, 5 p.m.
Winners of Game 1 and 2, 6:45 p.m.
Winners of Game 3 and 4, 8:30 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 9
7th place: Losers of consolation semifinals, 11 a.m.
5th place: Winners of consolation semifinals, 12:45 p.m.
3rd place: Championship semifinal losers, 2:30 p.m.
Title Game: Championship semifinal winners, 4:30 p.m.