Conway officials pick up pace to host 7A state basketball tournament

Steve Daniels, Conway High’s athletic director, has quickly shifted into high gear after his school was a last-minute replacement to host the early rounds of the 7A state high school basketball tournament.


Earlier in the week, North Little Rock, which was set to host, withdrew its bid because of construction issues and limited parking at the high school, which is being completely remodeled.

The tournament, up to the championship game, will be March 4-7. The title games will be at Hot Springs.

When a bid is rescinded and it’s a single bid, the Arkansas Activities Association assigns the replacement site. Since the tournament, which rotates from West to Central each year, was due to be held in central Arkansas, Conway was one obvious choice.

“People have been calling me all day, willing to volunteer and asking how they can help,” said Daniels. “That’s the good thing about this community. People are willing to do whatever to help the school and community. You don’t have to go looking for folks. They seek you out. People are ready to do this. And they aren’t particular. They are telling me to just tell them what they need to do and they’ll do it.”

Conway lasted host a state tournament in 2008, the first year for play in Buzz Bolding Arena.

Hosting a state tournament, especially on short-notice, requires a lot of details and volunteers.

“There’s parking and concessions and gate-workers an security and people to take care of teams, hospitality room, all kinds of details in order to do things right,” Daniels said.

“We host the Wampus Cat Invitational, which is a big tournament, every year but the difference in that and a state tournament is you are playing state tournament games in the afternoon during school hours. Some of the people who normally volunteer are working. Your coaches and staff are involved in classes and other sports. You need a lot of folks.”

A leak in the roof at Buzz Bolding Arena forced last week’s games against Russellville to be moved across the parking lot to Wampus Cat Gymnasium.

Daniels said workers were on the roof Monday repairing the issue and there was no damage to the floor.

“It was a precautionary thing to move; it was minor damage” Daniels said. “I’m going to err on the side of safety. Everyone involved was very cooperative and understanding. I didn’t want to chance anyone slipping and hurting themselves. And with a roof that size, you don’t know what needs to be fixed until it rains hard.”

Daniels said the roof will be checked and tested to make sure all leaks have been fixed.

Conway had previously bid on and was awarded to host the 7A state softball tournament to be played at City of Colleges Park.

“We’ll put on the basketball tournament, catch our breath, then get ready for the softball tournament. Then, we’ll catch our breath again and get ready for (high school) all-star week. It’ll be busy and a lot of work but it’s a great opportunity to show people our new school and our community.”



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