Local Youth Team Heads to National Tournament

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The Northwest Arkansas Hornets, an Under 14 boy's basketball team, will head to Springfield, Missouri for the 22nd Annual National Christian HomeSchool Basketball Championship. The team enters the championship ranked No. 4 in the nation.

"We are going to compete in something that is equivalent to March Madness," said Head Coach Matt Fifer.   "It doesn't get any better then this."

The Hornets are only in their second year as a program and they have exceeded all expectations.  They won the state tournament and then shocked everyone upsetting the Oklahoma Storm to win the regional championship.

"It was probably the biggest game I've ever played in," said Daniel Wenger.  "The fans that were there were screaming and it was huge.  I was so excited after the game."

The Hornets are part of the National Christian HomeSchool Association.  When talking about home school athletics many people don't realize the caliber of play.  Most notable L.A. Clippers star Blake Griffin started his basketball career in the HomeSchool League.

"Its pretty cool because you know you have a chance to go play somewhere and get looked at by other colleges and hopefully go play in the NBA or something," said Andrew Roach.

Maybe one day some of the Hornet players will have the opportunity to play in the NBA, but right now heading to Springfield and representing Northwest Arkansas is the biggest thing on their minds.

"I think its a really big blessing and privilege to go up there and play basketball," said Christian Arellano. "These are things people don't normally get a chance to do. It's just think its a privilege."

"It's amazing," said Jacob Winkel. "You look at who is ahead of us they are all big teams like Illinois and Nashville.  We are just this little Farmington County team and that's pretty cool."

Despite being from a small town the boys believe they can win it all and bring home the coveted gold ball.

"A lot of teams might underestimate us," said Winkel.  "We have nothing to loose, its going to be great."

"If we play to the best of our ability we can win it all," said Wenger.

The boys quest to win the gold ball starts with their first game Tuesday at 11:55am.