BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — The Alabama High School Athletic Association State Finals began with a bang at the BJCC Monday as 56 boys and girls basketball teams from across the state battle it out for the blue map.
But all the fans packing the stands need a place to eat and a place to eat, and that’s a slam dunk for Birmingham businesses.
Karla Khodanian is the chief communications and development officer for the Birmingham Business Alliance. She says these games will bring an economic boom to the Magic City and help put it on the map for future events.
“It’s a great opportunity to showcase the best of what Birmingham has to offer,” Khodanian said.
Some hotels near the BJCC have had an influx of reservations, while area restaurants such as Uptown Cantina and Mugshots were swarmed with customers.
Thanks to events like this, winter is Mugshots’ busiest time of year, according to assistant manager Alex Rowan.
“We’ve been seeing a lot of business so far this morning,” Rowan said. “I just like the energy in Birmingham now because you just feel it, all these artists are starting to come to Birmingham, all these teams are starting to come to Birmingham, and these events are happening, I love it.”
For the players who came into town from across the state, the tournament is something they’ve been looking forward to their whole lives.
“I’m very excited, ready to play,” said Tyquan Simon, a junior on Aliceville High School’s basketball team.
“We put in a lot of hard work, especially being a senior, a couple of my teammates have talked about this since we were little,” said Jordan Sterling, a senior on Aliceville High School’s basketball team.
The team is especially thankful for the opportunity to show all of Alabama what they’re made of. Aliceville High will take on Sand Rock Monday night at 7:30 p.m.
“We’re all grateful and blessed to be here … Being a small town, not really known on the map — we want them to be able to say we’ve got a good basketball program,” head coach Chris Walker said.
You can purchase tickets online on Ticketmaster through the BJCC. The tournament goes through Saturday.