"For the past thirteen years we have really enjoyed hosting this tournament here at NMCC," said NMCC athletic director Diane Fowler. "Each year we collaborate the best competition around which makes this weekend some of the best basketball entertainment of the year."
This year's classic, referred to by most as the "Rumble by the River," will showcase four of the area's premiere teams as they will go head-to-head against four out-of-state titans, all with proven resumes.
Missouri will be represented by:
* The New Madrid County Central Eagles with second year head coach Travis Day. The Eagles were crowned Class 3 State Champions in 1988, 2000, and 2001.
* The Scott County Central Braves, under the coaching of Ronnie Cookson. Scott Central is the 12-time Class 1 state champions.
*? The Bell City Cubs will be lead by Brian Brantner. The Cubs were Class 1 state champions in both 2002 and 2004.
*?The Charleston Bluejays behind coach Danny Farmer. Charleston is the home of 10 state basketball titles including the 2007 Class 3 champions.
Their opponents in the Classic will include:
*?The Byhalia Indians from Mississippi under the coaching of Michael Neal. The Indians are past state champions and have been in the state tournament five out of the past nine years.
The Pine Bluff Zebras of Arkansas led by Roger Morange. Pine Bluff was the 2003 Arkansas state champs and have been ranked in the top ten in each of the past ten years.
The Memphis Central Warriors from Tennessee will be behind coach Andre Applewhite. The Warriors were Tennessee state champs in 1981 and 1982.
The West Memphis Zebras of Tennessee with Memphis legend in Larry Bray. West Memphis were the Class 5 2004 state champs and have five other titles since 1980.
"All of the four teams coming from Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee are all previous state champions," said Fowler. "However, they all win with different styles of play. For example, Central Memphis is pretty athletic, tall and physical so they use their size to their advantage while West Memphis usually plays with more finesse, utilizing their speed."
The Riverbend will be a two-day, eight-team shootout with each day covering four games a piece which will start at 2 p.m. and last until around 9 p.m. It cost $5 to get in and fans are encouraged to stay and watch all the games.
"It is always a nice opening to the basketball season and the teams that are here are top-notch so it is a good way to see what teams are made of," said Fowler. "We would love to have anybody interested in watching some good basketball to come on and out and see it."
>NMCC v. Memphis Central, Tenn., 2 p.m.
>Bell City v. Pine Bluff, Ark., 3:30 p.m.
>Scott Central v. West Memphis, Ark., 5 p.m.
>Charleston v. Byhalia, Miss., 6:30 p.m.
>Pine Bluff, Ark. v. Scott Central, 2 p.m.
>West Memphis, Ark. v. Bell City, 3:30 p.m.
>Byhalia, Miss. v. NMCC, 5 p.m.
>Memphis Central, Tenn. v. Charleston, 6:30 p.m.