Hoops For Kids’ Sake, the annual Arkansas legislative charity basketball fundraiser benefiting Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arkansas and the Children’s Advocacy Centers of Arkansas, is set for Monday, April 22 at the Eddie L. Boone and Oliver Fitzpatrick, Jr. Fieldhouse at Little Rock Central High School.

This year’s game, the ninth of the modern era, the release says, will be the first iteration of a 3-on-3 tournament format with teams squaring off from the Arkansas House, the Arkansas Senate, the Office of the Governor and the Office of the Arkansas Attorney General. Arkansas House and Senate members will also participate in “Olympiad-style contests like free throws, three-pointers, half-court shots and more.”

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The House team is coming off five consecutive losses and a shambolic 36-12 rout in last year’s contest, despite the hubris of Representatives tweeting “HOUSE by 90” before tipoff. Last year’s House team, which was coached by Gov. Sarah Sanders, also suffered basketball season-ending achilles tendon injuries to Rep. Brandon Achor (R-Maumelle) and Rep. Kendon Underwood (R-Cave Springs). Props to Achor for still showing up to the legislative session the following day.

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The game resumed in 2023 after shutting down in 2020 due to the pandemic. This year’s game will be played at Central High School — Gov. Sanders’ alma mater — for the second time.

It isn’t clear if the new 3-on-3 format was adopted to level the playing field or to provide more excitement for the public in an effort to drive ticket sales to raise more money for the children’s charities. The new format doesn’t appear to have quashed the rivalry between legislative branches of the General Assembly.

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“The Senate looks forward to supporting Big Brothers Big Sisters and the CACs of Arkansas on the court as we go head-to-head versus the House,” said Arkansas Senate President Pro Tem Bart Hester in a press release. “The burden to defend our back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back wins is weighty, but we’re ready.”

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Social media posts following last year’s blowout indicate that the Senate might’ve benefited from the recruiting of ringers, and despite the lopsided victory, the House actually outscored Senate legislators. If that’s true, the House might stand to end the Senate’s winning streak.

“I was happy to see the tradition return,” Arkansas House Speaker Matthew Shepherd said, “but I expect the House to put forward a much stronger effort this year in this new 3-on-3 format particularly with the Senate not being able to recruit, unlike years past. It will afford us a much better chance of taking back the championship title, and most importantly, we look forward to continuing to raise money for these charities that do so much for the children of Arkansas.”

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General admission tickets are $10 at the door. Since its inception in 2013, the game has raised nearly $250,000, the release said. For sponsorship information, please contact Kristin Koenigsfest at 501-441-2070 or kkoenigsfest@bbbsca.org.