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Three games, one magical weekend!


I

t's a big weekend of basketball in Wichita, June 3-4. Armed Forces Appreciation Day and a doubleheader of incredible basketball add up to three tip-offs and three times the fun.


Action kicks off on Saturday with the Wichita Wizards taking on Program Select Missouri. The team hails from Springfield, Missouri and their league provides an opportunity for players to hone their skills at a variety of levels and compete against some of the best talent in the area. Unlike the MABA, the Missouri team has different levels of play, and the first game will consist of their semi-pro men taking on the Wizards' developmental and newer players.


"Playing Program Select Missouri gives players on our team that hasn’t had much playing time an opportunity to play in a semi-pro game," said Mark Creed, CEO and team founder. "It gives us an opportunity to take a good look at them in a game, and the players an opportunity to show us their potential."


That game is followed by a matchup between each team's top professional athletes. Fans can expect the same intense play against Program Select as they've seen from their Wizards all season long.


"The PS Missouri teams are always very talented, so I look for both games to be greatly contested. The game with Ft Riley on Sunday will be a very fast-moving, high-octane pace because they like to get up and down the floor, and so do we. It will be a very exciting weekend of basketball!!" said Creed.


There will be little time for rest after the double-header, however, as the Wizards suit up for Armed Forces Appreciation Day at 2 p.m. Sunday. This is a game the team looks forward to every year, as it gives them a chance to say thanks to veteran and current service members, said Lisa Henshall, communications director for the team. The team would love to see the stands filled with red, white and blue as they take on Fort Riley's Big Red 1 pro team.


"The game vs the Ft Riley Big Red 1 is a great opportunity for a team in our league to play a team from the Military Basketball Association," enthused Creed. "Both teams being from Kansas is also a great thing. Both playing in a state that loves basketball at all levels. We’re very proud of their showing in the Central Division League tournament earlier this month, and they also played well in the MBA championship tournament here in Wichita on Memorial weekend."


The Wizards hope to make this an annual opportunity on Armed Forces weekend, added Creed.


For Armed Forces Appreciation Day, active and retired military will be admitted free with ID. General Admission tickets for other fans will be $12 and courtside is $20. GA tickets can be purchased online at wichitawizards.com or all tickets are available at game time.


In addition to the high-scoring and exciting basketball from these teams, fans will be able to win gift cards to three different area restaurants, enjoy gourmet popcorn, and more. Oh and Granny basketball!


"The Grannies are what my family is looking forward to," said Henshall. Who are the Grannies? Granny Basketball started in 2005 when Barb McPherson Trammell's father -- who was a girls' basketball coach in Iowa in the '40s and '50s - was writing his memoirs, and Barb was helping. He described the first girls' game he saw in Bondurant, Iowa, in 1920, including the costumes the girls wore, the three courts, and the other rather prissy rules they had to follow back then. And a league was born. There are now more than 450 players on 41 teams in 10 states - and the Wizards think you'll love them as much as they do!


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