UAFS Tips Off Season With Moonlight Madness

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FORT SMITH (KFSM)--The University of Arkansas at Fort Smith celebrated the start of preseason basketball practice Thursday night by hosting its annual Moonlight Madness.

Fans came out to get their first glimpse Lions and Lady Lions basketball teams. The free event featured activities throughout the night, including a 3-point contest, a dunk contest, a navy-and-white scrimmage and a decade dance-off.

The UAFS men's basketball team is coming off a banner season, finishing 23-11 overall and 13-5 in Heartland conference play.  The Lions earned their first conference tournament title receiving the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Division II National Tournament.

"This team wants more," said UAFS men's coach Josh Newman. "We want to continue doing what we are doing, but let's see if we can be successful in the NCAA tournament. I think they are poised I think they are excited. They have a vision and hopefully we can make that happen."

UAFS kicks off the season Nov. 2 with an exhibition game at MTSU in Murfreesboro, TN.

Last season marked the beginning of the Elena Lovato era for the UA-Fort Smith women's basketball team. The Lady Lions exceeded expectations under the new changes, finishing 17-13 overall and 10-6 in Heartland Conference play. Under Lovato's guidance, UAFS made it to the second round of the Heartland Conference Tournament before falling to No.1 seeded St. Edward's.

"They are gritty," said UAFS women's coach Elena Lovato. "They really hard, we had some good workouts in the preseason so I'm excited. They like to work it's probably the hardest working team I have ever coached."

The Lady Lions kick off their season on Nov. 1 with an exhibition game at Tulsa.