LHSAA boys, girls state basketball finals set for Ruston

Staff reports

BATON ROUGE - The Louisiana High School Athletic Association (LHSAA) and the Ruston Lincoln Convention and Visitors Bureau (RLCVB) announced  that an agreement has been reached for Ruston to be the host site for the 2012 Boys’ and Girls’ State Basketball Finals.

The games will be played on Karl Malone Court at the Thomas Assembly Center on the campus of Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, La.

“After visiting the Thomas Assembly Center on Wednesday, and seeing the improvements made to the facility, we are confident that Ruston is the right choice to host our combined finals,” said LHSAA Executive Director Kenny Henderson. “The opportunity of playing in the Thomas Assembly Center with all its history will provide an exceptional experience for the players and for the fans.”

“We are excited to have the opportunity to once again partner with the LHSAA and look forward to welcoming the countless fans from across the state to Ruston for three exciting days of basketball,” said RLCVB President and CEO Kyle Edmiston.

After receiving the initial call from Henderson, Edmiston immediately reached out to Louisiana Tech Athletic Director Bruce Van DeVelde about using the Thomas Assembly Center. He also spoke with men’s basketball coach Mike White and women’s basketball coach Teresa Weatherspoon.

“This event would not be happening without the support of Louisiana Tech Athletics,” said Edmiston. “I certainly want to thank Bruce Van De Velde, Coach White and Coach Weatherspoon for their support of this event.”

Henderson estimated as many as 35,000 fans could make their way to Ruston during the three days of the tournament. This is due to the fact that the finals for the boys and girls are combined for the first time.

Semifinals games will be played in Monroe, Hammond and Lake Charles on March 1-3, 2012, with the 14 finals games the following weekend in Ruston.

In 2009, Ruston hosted one day of the Girls’ Sweet 16 tournament due to a scheduling conflict at Fant- Ewing Coliseum in Monroe, La. Since then, Edmiston has been eager to have another opportunity to bring another basketball event back to Ruston.

“This was an opportunity that we could not pass up,” said Edmiston. “This event will bring a tremendous number of visitors into our community and also have a substantial economic impact as well.”