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Riverbend Classic tips off on Friday

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

NEW MADRID -- Quality programs from four states are showcased in a tip-off of high school basketball in Southeast Missouri this weekend.

New Madrid County Central High School hosts the 10th annual Riverbend Classic on Friday and Saturday.

"I truly believe the Riverbend is the premier early season event of its kind in the region," said tournament director Lennies McFerren.

The two-day shoot-out features eight teams, each competing in two games.

This year's participants are the host team NMCC, a Class 3 state champion in 1988, 2000 and 2001; Byhalia, Miss., a past Mississippi state champion and state tournament participant in five of the last nine years, second in 2004; Hattiesburg, Miss., a state tournament participant the past four years and state runner-up in 2004; Pine Bluff, Ark., state playoff qualifier the past 10 years and overall state champions in 2003; Charleston, Mo., nine-time Missouri state champion, third in state in 2004; West Memphis, Ark., five state titles since 1980, the 2004 5A state champion; Covington, Tenn., perennially one of the top teams in the state of Tennessee; and Vashon of St. Louis, Mo., 20 final four appearances, 10 state titles including the 2004 Class 4 state championship.

A schedule of games is as follows:

Friday

3:00 p.m. -- NMCC vs. Covington

4:30 p.m. -- West Memphis vs. Hattiesburg

6:00 p.m. -- Byhalia vs. Vashon

7:30 p.m. -- Charleston vs. Pine Bluff

Saturday

3:00 p.m. -- Covington vs. Byhalia

4:30 p.m. -- Hattiesburg vs. Charleston

6:00 p.m. -- Pine Bluff vs. NMCC

7:30 p.m. -- Vashon vs. West Memphis