Central Christian College and Bethany College are no more than 15 miles apart.
But Friday, they’re traveling more than 1,100 miles to meet on the basketball court.
Central and Bethany have been paired in the opening round of the Bahama House Shootout, hosted by Embry-Riddle University in Daytona Beach, Fla.
This marquee matchup has a 4 p.m. starting time, with the winner advancing to Saturday’s championship game against the winner of Embry-Riddle and Trinity International.
This game would be a sellout if played in McPherson or Lindsborg. The two county teams have combined for a 21-4 record, with the Tigers 11-1 and the Swedes 10-3. Central enters the game on a five-game winning streak, while Bethany reeled off eight straight wins to close out 2014.
This figures to be a wildly entertaining game as the Tigers average just under 90 points, while the Swedes have gone over 100 points on a couple of occasions.
Both teams also feature a superstar, as Aaron Miller averages just under 22 points a game for the Tigers, while the Swedes’ Idris Ibn Idris went into the holidays as the country’s No. 4 scorer, pouring in nearly 27 points a game.
The winner more than likely will play tourney host Embry-Riddle on Saturday for the championship. The Eagles are ranked No. 1 in the country and possess an 11-1 record, including a 70-68 win over nationally ranked Northwood University, piloted by former Villanova coach Rollie Massimino. Its only loss came against Our Lady of the Lake in San Antonio, Texas.
Embry-Riddle is expected to have little trouble with Trinity International in Friday’s other game as the Trojans are just 3-11 on the year and have given up at least 80 points in 12 of their 14 games.
After their stay in Florida, the Tigers will be home Jan. 9 to host Manhattan Christian College. The Swedes return to KCAC play Jan. 9 at defending conference champion Saint Mary, then play two days later at Friends, which shares the KCAC lead with the Swedes at 4-0.