The road to the state championship and the realization of the dreams of basketball players throughout Arkansas continues this week with regional tournament play. In Class 3A, the Region 1 tournament will be hosted by West Fork High School. Teams from the 3A-4 conference will do battle with teams from the 3A-1 for the highly coveted berths in next week’s state tournament. The Region 1 tournament will be played this week, Wednesday through Saturday, February 22-25.
The 3A-1 conference features schools from Northwest Arkansas, and in both the boys and girls brackets, the Bergman Panthers and Lady Panthers are the heavy favorites to secure number one seeds in next week’s state tournament. All other seeds in both brackets seem to be up for grabs with the home team West Fork Tigers contending in the boys bracket for the second seed along with the Booneville Bearcats and the Charleston Tigers from the 3A-4. On the girls side, Valley Springs from the 3A-1 will compete against Booneville and Paris for a second seed to state.
But as anyone knows who has followed post season basketball, anything can happen. And basketball fans know that just about every year, “Cinderella”, a team that is the surprise of the tournament, makes an appearance to upset the pre-tournament prognosticators. So, will Cinderella make her appearance at this year’s Region 1 tournament? We shall see.
RNN Sports is proud to bring you this preview of teams that will participate in the Region 1 tournament. Fans can keep up with the results and the round-by-round pairings by going to scorebooklive.com to view live bracket updates over the four days of tournament play.
On the girls side of the tournament, the teams that will represent 3A-1 are: Bergman, Valley Springs, Flippin, and Elkins. Teams from the 3A-4 are Cossatot River, Paris, Booneville, and Hackett.
Seedings from the 3A-4 are: Cossatot River (1), Paris (2), Booneville (3), and Hackett (4). Seedings from the 3A-1 are: Bergman (2), Valley Springs (2), Flippin (3), and Elkins (4).
Bergman vs Hackett, 4 p.m.
Cossatot River vs Elkins, 7 p.m.
Paris vs Flippin, 4 p.m.
Valley Springs vs Booneville, 7 p.m.
The boys brackets on the Region 1 tournament include Booneville, Cossatot River, Charleston, and Paris from the 3A-4. From the 3A-1, teams will include Bergman, West Fork, Valley Springs, and Elkins.
The seedings from the 3A-4 are: Booneville (1), Cossatot River (2), Charleston (3), and Paris (4). From the 3A-1 the seedings are: Bergman (1), West Fork (2), Valley Springs (3), and Elkins (4)
Bergman vs Paris, 5:30 p.m.
Booneville vs Elkins, 8:30 p.m.
Cossatot River vs Valley Springs, 5:30 p.m.
West Fork vs Charleston, 8:30 p.m.
Winners in the first round of the tournament will lock up bids to the state tournament the following week. A first round regional victory advances teams to the semifinals in the regionals and no worse than a fourth place finish. The top four teams in the regionals advance to the state tournament, so all teams are focused soley on getting that first round victory in regionals. A loss in the first round of region ends the season.
The Bergman Panthers, according to Scorebook Live, won 33 games this year and were a perfect 12-0 in conference play. The Panthers ended the season with an overall record of 33-3. The Lady Panthers also had a stellar year in 2022-23, wining 31 games this year and 11 games in conference play. Bergman was 31-2 overall and 11-1 in the conference.
It could be a tough regional for the four teams from 3A-4, but, there certainly is no guarantee. All four teams from the 3A-4 will compete hard, and surprises happen nearly every year.
RNN Sports reminds fans that tickets to the tournament must be purchased in advance and online through the “GO FAN” website at gofan.co Just type your school’s name into the search bar on the site to find ticket information.