PHS to host second annual Bill Hanson Memorial tournament


Story by Hannah Gray, Print Co-Editor, Online Co-Editor

Thursday, Jan. 23 – Saturday, Jan. 25, PHS will be hosting the second annual Bill Hanson Memorial Tournament. 

Originally, the tournament was called the “Border Classic”, until it was renamed in 2019, to honor Bill Hanson, a long time PHS basketball coach. 

“Two years ago Coach [Kiley] Roelfs came to me with the idea of naming it after Coach Hanson, who coached at the high school and middle school level and touched a lot of lives,” activities director Jeff Staley said. “We felt like it was the right thing to do to honor Coach Hanson. It was a dream of his to always have a tournament like this.”

According to Staley, 16 teams from 13 schools in Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma will be attending the tournament. Over 170 rooms have already been booked in the Pittsburg area. 

“A tournament this size is an economic benefit to our community. Everybody is staying in our hotel rooms, they’re eating at local establishments, people are getting gas in our gas stations,” Staley said. “It brings an economic boom to our community.”

Teams coming in from out of state, such as Cassville, Kickapoo, Battle, Owasso and Willard, aren’t in Pittsburg’s regular season schedule. Wichita East and West aren’t out of state but are classified a 6A school. 

“Both our boys and girls get to see really high level of play, which makes us better,, Staley said. “We try to make sure we have teams in the tournament that we don’t play during the regular season. The ability level varies from good to really good, so it’s a good fit for us.”

Games will tip off at 4 on Thursday in the main gym and Megan Mallet Activity Center.

“The crowd’s more energetic and more of us want to beat them because they’re bigger than us,” sophomore Faith McGown said. “’I’m excited but terrified because I’m starting tonight and it’s my first game starting, but we’ll see.”