Every Monday during the high school basketball season, I’ll take a moment to examine the week that was for area teams.
Regular season tournaments are serious business in Oklahoma.
Every state, to the best of my knowledge, has regular season basketball tournaments, but Oklahoma is one of the few, where practically every team participates in multiple events.
Even in college basketball, regular season tournaments are sparse, with most of them serving as season tip-off events.
In the Sooner State, these tournaments are important. They have tradition.
At the beginning of each season, I ask players and coaches what their goals are for the upcoming year. Somewhere on that list is bound to be something along the lines of “Win one of our regular season tournament,” “make it to the finals of all of our regular-season tournaments,” or “do well in all of our tournaments.”
These are just exhibition tournaments. They shouldn’t mean any more than any other regular season game. But if you have every been to one, you know they do.
The Black Diamond Tournament begins today, and right around the corner is the Stephens County Tournament, both of which mean a great deal to players in this area.
The tournaments are about pride. About bragging rights. But they are also about learning how to play in tournament situations. How to play three games in three games, with little time to prepare and no time to game plan for your next opponent. And, you know what, most of them have more tradition and are run better than Oklahoma’s postseason. At least in these tournaments team have an idea of who their competition is, unlike the district tournaments, which won’t even be drawn up until late in the season.
These tournaments are part of the unique landscape of high school basketball in Oklahoma, and I, for one, enjoy them.