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      State championships a slam dunk for economy

      Columbia, (WACH) - No matter what happens on the basketball court this weekend the Midlands economy is expected to score big.

      16 schools will bring thousand of families and fans from across South Carolina to Colonial Life Arena for the state high school championships. "All of our hotels, they look forward to this time of year,â?? said CEO of the Midlands Authority for Conventions, Sports & Tourism Ric Luber.â?? â??They'll make special rates available for those coming in for the tournament and those traveling will take advantage of it."

      Luber says the region could experience a $400,000 to $500,000 economic impact from the two day event.

      "We average more than 20,000 fans each year we put this on, so that's big,â?? said Commissioner of the South Carolina High School League Jerome Singleton. â??Our schools really show they support these athletes and the communities support those athletes.

      Singleton and other high school league officials will see a large contingent of people from out of town venturing to the Capital City, as 10 of the 16 schools competing for championships are from outside the Midlands.

      "That's an opportunity possibly for some of those students to end up going to USC, or going to Benedict, or Columbia College,â?? adds Luber.

      Basketball isn't the only game in town this weekend, the convention center is also the site of a major cheerleading competition plus Carolina and Clemson duke it out on the baseball diamond Saturday afternoon.