New Fan Experience Highlights Boys Basketball Tourney at the Lakeland Center
Mon. February 25, 2013 at 4:08 a.m. | By Rick Brown
By RICK BROWN | THE LEDGER
LAKELAND | The city of Lakeland continues to be the center of high school basketball this week as the FHSAA boys state basketball tournament begins on Tuesday and will run through Saturday at The Lakeland Center.
In addition to the basketball tournament itself, fans will have a chance for more fun and will even have a chance to win a new car.
Fans with tickets to the tournament will be able to attend the Interactive Fan Experience, which will be located just steps from the basketball action in the George Jenkins Arena inside The Lakeland Center's exhibit hall.
The fan fest will include activities for fans to be able to participate in skills challenges involving shooting and dribbling. Young fans can hang out in the Kids Zone, with activities that are the perfect fit for kids of all ages and sizes.
There will be activities for parents as well, including the Moms Free Throw Challenge, Dads 40 and over shootout and more.
There will also be free autograph sessions on Friday and Saturday. Scheduled to participate are Davin Joesph of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as well as former NBA players Tree Rollins and Kenny Anderson.
Finally, fans will have an opportunity to win a new car from Regal Automotive. Fans must register by noon Friday inside the fan fest at the Regal Automotive booth to be entered in the drawing for the half-court shot.
But of course, the main attraction is the games themselves.
A total of 32 teams will compete for the state championship in eight classifications (four teams each class).
Polk County will have two teams going for state championships.
Winter Haven returns after losing in the semifinals last year of the Class 6A state tournament. The Blue Devils will face Pensacola Pine Forest in Thursday's semifinal game. The game is scheduled for a 1:30 p.m. start.
On Friday, Bartow is back and will face who many believe is the top team in Class 7A — Pompano Beach Blanche Ely. The teams will match up at 4 p.m.
[ Rick Brown can be reached at 863-802-7569 or at firstname.lastname@example.org ]