One of the oldest high school basketball tournaments in the Four States is underway. But even though it's being played on school grounds, it's actually being run by an area business.
The first Neosho Holiday Classic took place back in 1955 inside the iconic Neosho High School gymnasium. The 2017 version features 16 men’s teams and 8 women's teams, and will be played at the high school as well as the brand new junior high school.
Even though it's played on school grounds, it's actually run by Neosho based Branco Construction. Company President Justin Branham explains why.
"Almost all of our charitable endeavors at Branco somehow focus on kids, whether it be the community kids here at the school or kids of our employees, that's kind of where our focus is. We think it's, more than just having a business, it's investing in the community that invests in us,” says Justin Branham.
Ask anyone who's ever played in this tournament, whether they're from the Four States or not, and they'll tell you it's an experience you won't soon forget. Just ask Melanie Matkins, who went to high school at Providence Academy in Northwest Arkansas but is now helping to run it.
"So much fun, I feel like the dunk contest was fun to watch,” says Melanie Matkins.
Now the sneaker is on the other foot so to speak.
"But they took really good care of us with food and everything was awesome,” says Melanie Matkins.
And now she’s doing the same thing.
"Yes, now I'm behind the scenes and it's interesting, it's a lot of work and I feel I should be super thankful for that time,” says Melanie Matkins.
"We'll take some time to decompress after this one's over. We’ll probably take a week and then reconvene and talk about the things we did right and did bad. Things we can improve on, and start planning it literally the week after,” says Justin Branham.