Shawn Beldin, high school producer for Metro Sports, is the mastermind of the Time Warner Cable Showcase, a high school basketball event at the Sprint Center held on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. We asked Beldin to go four quarters with The Star and talk about the inaugural showcase and where it goes from here.
Q. What was the genesis of the showcase?
A. “It’s been an idea we’ve kicked around at Metro Sports for several years. It finally came to fruition in December. That’s when we officially got the green light.”
Q. What were the expectations for the inaugural event?
A. “We got into this after schedules had been set for the year, so we asked teams to move their already-scheduled games to the date. … Our expectation for this year was to have 3,000 or 4,000 people in the building that day. We got about twice as many, so that surpassed our expectation level.”
Q. Safe to say there will be a second annual TWC Showcase?
A. “Yes. I don’t know if I’ve heard we’re absolutely doing it from anyone yet, but yes, we’ll be doing this again next year for sure.”
Q. What did you learn to help you grow the event or make it better?
A. “The importance of school participation with bands and dance teams was reinforced. We also learned it was a good day to do something like that to honor Martin Luther King and his legacy and what he did for this country. Kansas City responded well and showed it will support good basketball on that day. The only complaint was there weren’t enough concession stands open, but next year I promise we will have more concession stands open.”
By the numbers
1 Spot in “SportsCenter’s” nightly top-10 segment reserved for North Kansas City freshman Selena Salas. As the final buzzer sounded, Salas banked in a 26-foot three-pointer from the left wing to give the Hornets a 45-44 win over Staley in the inaugural Time Warner Cable Showcase at the Sprint Center. One night later, the play claimed the top billing.
4 Win streak for Rockhurst basketball in its state-line rivalry with Shawnee Mission East, including a 54-28 woodshedding a year ago. Of course, before the Hawklets’ recent dominance, the Lancers had rattled off four straight wins. This year promises to be special with both teams in tip-top form. SM East, 11-1, is coming off its first loss of the season in the McPherson tourney final, and Rockhurst, 15-3, rolling after winning SM West’s Viking Classic.
1,000 Career points milestone that Lee’s Summit North senior Imani Johnson reached Saturday against Liberty.
6,819 Paid attendance Monday at the Sprint Center for the Time Warner Cable Showcase. Factoring in school bands and cheer groups, which were admitted through a pass gate, that put the actual attendance for the eight-game event presented by Metro Sports closer to 7,500.
Games to watch
• Park Hill South boys at Lee’s Summit West: Two of the top teams in the Suburban Red Conference match up to conclude the opening week of league play. Park Hill South, 12-4, began the conference season with a win against Park Hill on Tuesday, but Lee’s Summit West, 13-2, is a different kind of animal. The Titans have won five straight and 12 of 13 following a win against Truman on Tuesday. Their two losses came by a total of seven points.
• Mill Valley boys at Olathe Northwest: Both teams have momentum they’d like to keep going. Senior Nathan Stacy and junior Wyatt Voorhes averaged more than 15 points each during Mill Valley’s run to a championship last week at Coffeyville’s Interstate Classic. Meanwhile, Olathe Northwest finished second to BV Northwest at Valley Center’s January Jam, behind seniors Trey Bales, who averaged 24.3 points.
• Blue Springs South boys at Blue Springs: Blue Springs South is the team to beat in the Suburban Gold Conference, but the competitive league features four teams with winning records, heightening the importance of every game. The Jaguars, 14-2, likely will see a top effort from rival Blue Springs, which is looking to bounce back from a one-point loss at Lee’s Summit this week. Blue Springs is 10-6.
• Blue Valley Northwest boys at Blue Valley North: Last season, it was perhaps the best matchup in the metro and early in the season it looked as if that would be the case again. The visiting Huskies, 10-0 and in search of a fourth straight appearance in the Kansas Class 6A title game, are holding up their end of the bargain, but the host Mustangs, 6-5, have lost four of five games. Might the rivalry restore BV North’s spark?
The Star’s Tod Palmer and Sam McDowell contributed to this report.
| Tod Palmer, email@example.com