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MBA Finals to Kick off in Minot

February 19, 2003 - Midwestern Basketball Association (MBA) - Magic City Snowbears News Release

THE MIDWEST BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION is proud to announce its first ever MBA FINALS to take place in Minot, ND this Wednesday through Friday, February 19-21. The single elimination tournament will be held at the well-known Snowbear “cave”, aka The Minot Municipal Auditorium.

On the eve of destruction of what was the very short lived, “xtreme basketball association”, the owners and GM’s of the now duly dubbed, “MIDWEST BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION” met for 24 hours via phone conference calls and late night drives to Jamestown, ND—to discuss on whole, a plan to continue playing ball, despite the “xba’s” announcement to pull out all money and fold.

Buffalo City Thunder’s Owner/Asst. Coach, Scott Olson contacted Minot’s GM Kirk Roos with the idea that regardless of which league they played in, the teams of the defunct “xba” had fans and sponsors that were willing to support the teams. Roos, Olson and Huron’s GM Ernie Kuyper met and agreed to begin working with xba owner, Lynn Ratcliffe on a “buyout” option of the individual teams of the xba, wherein the teams would become locally owned and operated. Within 24 hours, The MBA was born.

The MBA’s first goal was to maintain as much of the sloppy scheduling done by the xba, as possible, in hopes to keep as many home games for each team. However, within the formatted schedule, the teams found it nearly impossible to keep every game, as many teams were expected to travel 1,000+ as many as 5 times in one season. “We were told this was the only schedule that would work, but as soon as we started making a few phone calls, we learned there was a much easier way to go about it, but it would require us to cut the season short by two weeks,” said Roos. He went on to say, “That was fine with us, since we only had 1 game in that 2 week period, anyway. It really never made sense to spend that kind of money for 1 game.”

That was probably the best thing that could’ve ever happened to the league. In the dramatic and unnecessary turmoil of the xba’s bon voyage, the Spearfish team and Ft. Dodge had found themselves incapable of keeping up with the costs and were nearly forced to drop out. However, within the new schedule, and shorter season, Ft. Dodge’s team was at least equipped to survive some of the remaining road games as a “travel team”, thus keeping 4-teams in the league. Ft. Dodge was helped out by interim commissioner, Nathan Broussard, who will coach them in the MBA FINALS, this week in Minot, ND.

The MBA championship series will begin Wednesday in Minot. With the top seed, the Lightning Boltz will meet up with No. 4 Fort Dodge in the first game of the day at 5:30 p.m. Magic City will then play Buffalo City at 8 p.m.

The consolation and championship games are them scheduled for Thursday night. On Friday, the MBA champions will play a team of MBA All-Stars. A dunk contest and a 3-point shootout is also scheduled.

The four teams’ Owners and GM’s will also have numerous meetings this week to discuss the future of the league, involving prospective new teams for next season, league dues, rules and future tournament formats. Buffalo City’s Olson commented on the event, “This all we ever wanted, great basketball. And it’s a real credit to those who stuck it out for this first season, considering everything. I’m real proud to be a part of this, and I think it’s fair to say the fans got what they paid for.” He added later, “Though we do expect a bigger league and bigger turn-outs next season.”

The MBA plans to play a large number of pre-season games next year in smaller towns around the perimeter of the team’s home. Co-owner of the Buffalo City Thunder, Jerry Olson remarked, “We tried this in our home town, Max, ND and it was a hit! The fans really appreciated it and we had probably about 800 fans that night.”

Though some teams had low numbers this year, as far as attendance goes, there were numerous nights where the crowds exceeded 2,000. Acting as the “Marketing Director” of the league, Roos added, “This year was about getting our product out there, it was a shorter season than we anticipate next year, but this was a good way to introduce the league. The fact is, we needed this season to recruit players, and I’m not just talking about the ones on the court.”

Broussard, who also represents many players across the country, said of the league, “This is what it’s all about. I have seen players in this league, this season that WILL PLAY in the NBA. I think the key to success in leagues like this, is to keep it community-based. By that I mean, to focus on the talent, rather than the spectacle. And yet, we do put on a Great show!”

Ernie Kuyper added, “All we wanted this year was to show the fans and sponsored that we cared enough to give them what they paid for. There were a lot of season ticket holders and small business’ out there that would’ve lost money had we not finished. I’m looking for big things next year, because of our efforts this year.”

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