“Tribe Classic” event spotlights talented basketball players

Alice Addair, Staff Writer

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They can hear the yells and cheers of the students in the dome. They can feel the vibration of their fans stomping through the floor. They dribble the ball once, twice. They bend their arms up next to their heads with the ball. Then, with the extension of their arm,s they let go and…swish.

The Tribe Classic is an annual tradition that takes place every winter in the Buck Van Huss Dome. It isn’t just any basketball game; it is the most important game of the season. The stakes are high and so is the tension.

The biggest rivalry between middle schools in the area is between Sevier and Robinson. The students and faculty scream for joy when their team scores, and stomp their feet when the opposing team is making a free-throw. People see students arguing at the concession stand that their team will win.

Aaron Gourley is the Sevier Middle boys basketball coach.

“My favorite moment at the Tribe Classic was watching how excited our boys were to play the game and how excited the fans were to watch us,” Gourley said. “The Tribe Classic is all about the experience for the participants in and supporting the game.”

This year boys and girls basketball teams were not able to beat Robinson, but whether the teams win or lose seems to take a backseat to the excitement of the game.

Marty Moore is the athletic director of Sevier Middle.

“Other than the outcome of the games, I thought the Tribe Classic went extremely well,” he said. “All of the planning and work involved to get everything set up for a successful day worked out perfectly.”

What’s really important is that both teams put their blood, sweat, and tears into the game, according to Paul Blair, the girls basketball coach.

“I am proud of the way they battled under serious adversity,” he said.

Gourley agreed.

“Even though the game did not go as planned, we showed a competitive spirit and had a unique opportunity to play a basketball game in front of thousands of people,” he said. “Not many middle school athletes can say about playing basketball.”

Preparing for the Tribe Classic is a big job.

“There are a lot of people that must coordinate their responsibilities for this event to happen and it worked seamlessly,” Moore said. Due to the construction at Dobyns-Bennett, we were not going to have the Tribe Classic because access to the gym is just too difficult. After some careful planning and logistical work, it was decided that it was possible and everyone responded quickly to get everything lined up.”

Preparing the players can also be challenging.

“Many had never played in front of a large crowd like that,” Blair said.

For many students, it is hard to imagine how a player might feel on the court.

Jaren Sensabaugh a seventh grade basketball player, was one of those players.

“I was nervous because their were so many people there,” he said.

Turner Stout, an eighth grade basketball player felt a different emotion on the court.

“We didn’t play as well in the second half,” he said. “I was getting frustrated because we were getting beat by 13 points.”

Whether people are there to watch the game, play the game, or cheer the game, the Tribe Classic is a fun and exciting tradition for everyone.

“I think this is one of the best days of the year,” Moore said. “The Tribe Classic allows many facets of both schools to showcase their talents and abilities in front of their peers, who do not often attend sporting events at either school. It also promotes school spirit at both schools while recognizing the ‘One Tribe’ philosophy our system tries to maintain and encourage.”

For many, the Tribe Classic is more than just a basketball game.

“The schools need to come and be together before they get to high school,” Blair said. “It is always a positive when that occurs.”

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