The High School League's Lower State basketball championships move to the Florence Civic Center for at least this year after being held at The Citadel's McAlister Field House three of the last four years.
The eight championships games (four boys and four girls) were held at The Citadel's McAlister Field House in 2008, 2010 and 2011, but the school didn't submit a bid to host this year's games because of scheduling conflicts. The games were held at different venues in '09 when the High School League and The Citadel couldn't reach an agreement.
This year's games will be played Feb. 24-25.
"We received several requests to host the games, but the best proposal came Florence Civic Center," High School League commissioner Jerome Singleton said. "We've had a good number of teams from the Pee Dee area play in the Lower State, and the Civic Center meets our seating requirements. We wanted a place that could hold at least 8,000 fans. The area also has shopping, restaurants and hotels nearby."
Kendall Wall, the Civic Center's manager, told the Florence Morning News that he expects the championship to have an economic impact of $500,000.
"Charleston and The Citadel did a great job of hosting the Lower State championships," Singleton said. "Everything was first class and the crowds were great. We're hoping for the same thing in Florence."
The Bi-Lo Center in Greenville will once again host the Upper State championships.
Enrique Rodriguez was hired as head coach of the Pinewood Prep boys' soccer team.
He has an impressive resume. Rodriguez is in his third year as The Citadel's assistant soccer coach. He's also coached in the North Area Soccer Association in Charleston.
He came to the Lowcountry from Miami, where he coached the Kendall Soccer Coalition, which was the finalist for the 2008 Florida President's Cup. He also led Palmer Trinity High School to the quarterfinals of the 2-A district in Florida in '08.
Brookland-Cayce assistant boys soccer coach Kyle Heise was selected the National Soccer Coaches Association of America's (NSCAA) 2011 National High School Assistant Coach of the Year. Heise was also tabbed the NSCAA South Region High School Assistant Coach of the Year and was named the national winner at the NSCAA Convention in Kansas City.
Heise graduated from Brookland-Cayce in 1989 and played soccer for the Bearcats. He has remained involved with the program for the last 23 years as an assistant coach on the Brookland-Cayce staff.
Heise also is founder and director of SCSoccer.com -- the official website of the S.C. High School Soccer Coaches Association (SCHSSCA).
Ashley Ridge infielder Cuyler McAuliffe has committed to play baseball at North Greenville, while two local players have committed to play for Florence-Darlington Tech: Timberland left-handed pitcher Bobby Jackson and Battery Creek right-handed pitcher Shane Dixon.