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Boys basketball coach Trent Loyd said he believes this will be the strongest field yet for the the annual Battle of the Ridge Basketball Tournament.

"We have some new teams, and there will be a lot of good games this week," Loyd said. "I think it is the best field we have ever had."

The field this year includes the host team, Berryville, Joe T. Robinson (Little Rock), Bearden and ESTEM (Little Rock) from Arkansas, McDonald County and Neosho from Missouri, with independent Providence Academy from Rogers. Rogers Providence is a member of a private school league based in Oklahoma.

The Blackhawks will open with border-team McDonald County in first round action at 7 p.m. Thursday. The Mustangs fell below .500 last season, losing nine of their first 10 games in 2017, but made a comeback later in the season, and may be looking for a break out season. They are ranked in the middle of a 94-team classification in Missouri which compares to the Arkansas 5A class.

The other two teams in the Blackhawks' brackett includes Robinson and Bearden. These two teams have 2-1 records with Robinson ranked 15th in the state in 4A. They play at 4 p.m. Thursday.

In the other bracket, ESTEM takes on Neosho at 5:30 Thursday. ESTEM is ranked ninth in the 4A state, with Neosho ranked 70th among well over 100 teams a Missouri classification corresponding to 6A in Arkansas, the big school leagues. Neosho is 0-3 with ESTEM having a 2-1 mark.

In the final game Thursday, the 4A seventh-ranked Berryville Bobcats take on Providence in the night cap. Providence is 5-3 and is ranked 27th in Oklahoma's small school class, among 147 other teams from across the Sooner state. Providence has been an Oklahoma private school state champion recently even they reside outside their borders.

If the 'Hawks can dispose of McDonald County, they would play the winner of Robinson/Bearden game at 7 p.m. Friday. The championship game is set for 3:30 p.m. Saturday.​

Community on 12/04/2018

Print Headline: 'Hawks host Battle of the Ridge

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