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AIHEC Tourney at SKC

PABLO – Ten tribal schools from across the country will be heading to the Mission Valley this week as SKC hosts the 2011 AIHEC National Basketball Championship. The tournament will host both men’s and women’s tribal teams as they compete for the national championship.

The tournament will be held Thursday through Saturday, with all games being played at Joe McDonald Health and Athletic Center in Pablo. All men’s games will be on the north court, while all women’s games will be held on the south court.

“By dividing the court, we can keep all of the games here at SKC, rather than having the men and women play at separate locations,” athletics director and coach Juan Perez said.

The games are scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. running through roughly 9 p.m. on Thursday, while the games will begin at 10 a.m. and run through around 7:30 p.m. on Friday. The schedules for Saturday and Sunday will be posted after the first two days of play are finished.

There will be two separate pools in the tournament. The games being played in the first pool will be college regulation length games, while the second pool games will have a running clock, to ensure all games get played on time.

According to Perez, the basketball tournament is usually combined with the academic championships in South Dakota, however this year AIHEC allowed SCK to host, because no other schools wanted to host.

“No schools wanted to step up, so we did,” Perez said.

This will not be the first time they have hosted the tournament, as SKC held the tournament back in 2009.

“Having the tournament here allows for great publicity and exposure,” Perez said, “In the past we have signed players, who, after visiting SKC realized this is where they want to play ball.”

Perez also mentioned that hosting events such as tournaments allow the college to show off their new facilities and also gets the community to come out and see what SKC is all about.

“We have locals come in here and are amazed how large our college is,” Perez said.

The event is sponsored by St. Joseph Medical Center in Polson, as well as the Coeur d’Alene tribe.

All participants will receive shirts, while the Coeur d’Alene tribe is providing players with gym sacks. Both the men’s and women’s champion will receive a special t-shirt and medal, while second and third places finishers will be presented plaques.

The SKC men’s team is seeking their sixth national championship in the past seven years, while the women’s team is looking for their fourth title in the last five years.

“We want the community to come out and watch some really competitive basketball,” Perez said.

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