NCAA Championships Return to Salem

By Eric Johnson - Sports Reporter
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SALEM (WSLS 10 SPORTS) -

Division three basketball championships return to Salem this weekend, featuring familiar teams and one newcomer to the final four.

Babson College is in the final four the second time in the last three years. The Beavers are led by Joey Flannery who's averaging double figures.

They will face Whitman College from Washington- who is making there first trip to Salem.

"For the west coast, there hasn't been a west coast team in the final four in 35 years so it's a big deal not just for whitman but the whole west coast to battle it's way through one of us from the west and make it here", said Eric Bridgeland, coach of Whitman College.

In the other semifinal it will be Augustana taking on Williams College, who's making there eighth trip to Salem where they hold a 8-6 record.

For years Salem has been known as the City of Champions and they hope to keep it that way after resubmitting their bid to the NCAA to be a host city not only for basketball, but other sports as well.

"It's sold as a valley event", said Carey Harveycutter. He serves as the Director of Tourism for Salem.

"The basketball is played in Salem but the teams are staying in Roanoke City at the Sheraton. They're shopping all over the valley and eating in restaurants in Salem, Roanoke City and Roanoke County so it's very much a Virginia's Blue Ridge event."

The first semifinal game starts at 5pm Friday at the Salem Civic Center.

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