For the first time since its start in 1946, Quapaw and Commerce will not be in the field for the Northeastern A&M High School Basketball Tournament.

Commerce begins play in the Sarcoxie (Mo.) High School Tournament while Quapaw will compete in the 37th annual Interstate Classic at Coffeyville, Kan.

Officials at both schools have said on various occasions that the decision not to play at NEO was to give their teams a chance to play against different competition.

Commerce and Quapaw’s boys had been part of the NEO field since the modern-day tournament’s inception in’46.

The Commerce girls first entered the NEO tournament in 1970 and Quapaw came on board in’73.

CHS’ boys will be in a round-robin bracket at Sarcoxie, facing the hosts on Monday, Joplin (Mo.) College Heights on Friday and Exeter, Mo., on Saturday.

The Lady Tigers, who received the tournament’s No. 4 seed, face Sarcoxie Monday at 6:30 p.m. in the first round.

They would play at 6:30 p.m. Thursday if they win or at 6:30 p.m. Friday if they lose.

The girls’ half of the tournament wraps up Saturday with four games. The championship will be decided at 4:30 p.m.

Both of Quapaw’s teams have been paired with host Field Kindley High School of Coffeyville. The girls’ game tips at 7 p.m. with the boys’ contest at 8:45 p.m.

Both games will be played in the FKHS gym.

Coffeyville Community College’s Nellis Hall also will be used for games.

Quapaw and the Dewey boys are the only Oklahoma team in the field.

Others entered include Kansas City (Mo.) Westport, Kansas City (Mo.) Central, Kansas City (Kan.) Harmon, Andover, Kan., the

Wichita (Kan.) Defenders and the Parsons, Kan., girls.

Schedules for the Coffeyville and Sarcoxie tournaments are included in the “What’s on Tap?” feature on