Fans, Coaches Enjoying BIg Atlantic Classic - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Fans, Coaches Enjoying BIg Atlantic Classic

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BECKLEY -

The Big Atlantic Classic is drawing rave reviews from groups that can sometimes be the harshest critics. Teams love the tough matchups, including Bluefield's coach Buster Large, who leads the number one team in Class AA.

"I think it's one of the premier high school tournaments in the country and I think it helps prepare you down the road," Large said.

Radio stations will be broadcasting every game over the airwaves. People will be listening in from all over the state because of the wide spectrum of schools taking part in the tournament.

"When you look at the rosters of teams, it's some of the very best teams in the state, so the area of Beckley is going to be really happy to see this kind of basketball," said Fred Persinger, WJLS-FM General Manager.

In the 24th year of the Classic, teams and buses bring bodies to fill up area hotels and restaurants.

"We estimate that a dollar they spend here for a ticket will turnover about five times with the local hotels, motels, restaurants and the shopping that they do in the local area," said Terry Miller, Operations Manager for the tournament.

Fans travel from as close as Beckley to parts like Oceana and up in the eastern panhandle to see nonstop basketball action.

"We're such a small town," said Wyoming County resident, and Westside student Natalee Hatfield. "You like to travel because it's you getting out of your comfort zone."

"I don't usually get to come to a lot of game like this so it's a pretty big deal," said Alex Barlow, a Westside fan.

The Big Atlantic Classic wraps up on Saturday.

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