The Sonic Air Raid hosted by Harding Academy and Searcy High School will again serve as the 7 on 7 season’s first tournament. The tournament expanded from 8 to 16 teams three years ago and is the state’s 3rd largest tournament behind the Shootout of the South (24 teams) and the VYPE Select (32 teams). The 2009 edition of the Sonic Air Raid can boast about a very solid field. The tournament, which takes place June 6, is the first leg of the Arkansas 7 on 7 Triple Crown. The Shootout of the South and Vype Select tournaments complete the state's triple crown competition.
The tournament features 4 pools of 4 teams. Each team will play the other teams in their pool (3 games). The top two teams from each pool will advance to the Land O’Frost Championship bracket (8 teams). The bottom two teams will compete in the Sonic Consolation Bracket (8 teams).
Division “A”: Conway, Greenbrier, Harding Academy, Heber Springs
Division “B”: Central Arkansas Christian, Lonoke, Pulaski Academy, Searcy
Division “C”: Bald Knob, Little Rock Christian, Pine Bluff, Watson Chapel
Division “D”: Conway Christian, Des Arc, Greene County Tech, Rose Bud
The standouts in this year’s field figure to come from Division C. That pool boasts NCAA Division 1 athletes Michael Dyer from Little Rock Christian, Claude Johnson and Jonathan Frazier from Pine Bluff, and a few athletes from Watson Chapel that will receive some looks from college coaches. Bald Knob is the 4th team in that pool and will try to win games using the Tony Franklin System that they implemented two years ago.
Other interesting stories going into the tournament will be how Conway will perform this early under new head coach Clint Ashcraft. Greenbrier will be another team to watch as Coach Randy Tribble will be in his second year. The Panthers also employ the Tony Franklin System.
Absent from this year’s tournament is last year’s champion Lake Hamilton. Lake Hamilton used their win from the Air Raid to propel them to a Shootout of the South victory a week later. They went on to win the 6A state title.
Pulaski Academy did not attend last year’s Air Raid, but they won the VYPE Select 7 on 7 last July. They are the only state champion that will be in attendance.