Citizens Bank Classic brings in quality foes

By JOCELYN SHEETS
Register Sports Editor

With a sponsor on board and new opponents coming to Iola, Allen County Community College basketball coaches Mike Hayes and Andy Hamilton are excited about this weekend’s Citizens Bank Classic.
“We’ve worked very hard to upgrade our Classic. This year we’ve got Citizens Bank as the sponsor. And we’ve come up with quality competition to prepare use for conference play,” said Mike Hayes, ACCC men’s head coach.
The Citizens Bank Classic, formerly the Red Devil Classic, features the men’s and women’s teams from Allen County, Fort Scott Community College and Northern Oklahoma College-Enid. Also playing in the Classic are State Fair Community College’s men and the Cottey College women.
Scheduling for the Classic has changed this week.
Allen County’s women and men will play Northern Oklahoma College-Enid Friday. The women’s game tips off at 6 p.m. followed by the men at 8 o’clock.
The ACCC men had been slated to play State Fair.
“They (NOC) called and asked if we could change things around. All the coaches agreed,” said Hamilton, ACCC women’s head coach and assistant athletic director.
“Our girls are excited about playing at home and we see this weekend as a measuring stick for us,” Hamilton said. “Taking on an established program like NOC, which is ranked 18th in the nation right now, is a great opportunity for our team.”
Allen County’s women are 3-1 on the season but didn’t have the intensity their coach expected in their home opener Tuesday night. Hamilton said the Red Devil women had a great day of practice Wednesday.
“We’re trying not to put pressure on these kids. With a team of all freshmen but one player, we’re stressing to them that it’s just an opportunity to play the game of basketball,” Hamilton said.
The ACCC women also will have Kynesha Nisbett off the injured list. Hamilton said Nisbett will play this weekend.
Allen County’s women play Cottey College Saturday at 6 p.m.
Allen County’s men are 1-1 and are using lessons learned Tuesday against Hutchinson Community College to prepare for the Classic games.
“Northern Oklahoma College was one game away from the national tournament last year. They have their leading scorer — 6-4 Ben Smith — back plus have several 6-9 players,” Hayes said.
“State Fair is always tough and is 2-1 coming in here. They have a couple of 6-9 players also.”
Allen County played with eight players on Tuesday and again it will be eight this weekend.
Sophomore guard Aaron Jackson will play this weekend but freshman guard Keevis Tukes will be gone because of a death in his family.
“Playing Hutchinson this week helped expose some things we needed to work on. We can’t let teams dictate to us like that. They guys are excited about playing at home and playing better this weekend,” Hayes said.
Allen County co-hosts the Citizens Bank Classic with Fort Scott Community College.
“All the games should be quality basketball for fans to watch this weekend,” Hayes said.
Here is the Classic schedule for this weekend at the ACCC gym.

Friday
Allen County
Citizens Bank Classic

Fort Scott women vs. Cottey College, 2 p.m.
Fort Scott men vs. State Fair, 4 p.m.
Northern Oklahoma College-Enid vs. ACCC women, 6 p.m.
Northern Oklahoma College-Enid vs ACCC men, 8 p.m.

Saturday
Allen County
Citizens Bank Classic

Fort Scott women vs. NOC-Enid, 2 p.m.
Fort Scott men vs. NOC-Enid, 4 p.m.
Cottey College vs. ACCC women, 6 p.m.
State Fair vs. ACCC men, 8 p.m.