Well this is it folks, the final regular season game ever will be played Saturday Night at The Villages Original High School! The Buffalo get ready to say farewell to the original facility and hello to a brand new state of the art complex in mid 2023!
The final regular season game will be against Mount Dora a familiar foe with a long history at this facility! The Buffalo played the Mount Dora Hurricanes for the first time on January 27th 2006 which ended in a loss for The Villages. The Buffalo didn’t win against The Mount Dora Hurricanes at the original court until February 3rd 2016 when the Buffalo defeated the Hurricanes for the first time with a 78-74 victory. Since that game in 2016 the Buffalo have never lost on the original high school court to The Hurricanes!
How Can A High School Basketball Team Thrive In A Retirement Community?
The first few years of The Villages Basketball Program were a challenge… Many said they couldn’t be competitive! How can a high school basketball team thrive in a retirement community? But Gary Morse believed as did Mark, Tracey, Jennifer, and in time so did the community. The Morse family didn’t just believe, they built all of it! Back then it was just cow pastures and prairies. As a community The Villages didn’t even go past 466. But as time went on, the community, the people, coaches, faculty and players pushed the small little high school into the big time. With it The Villages became a household name.
(Fans and Family members watch The Buffalo in a very cramped and now inadequate Gym.)
The Villages Absolutely Needed A New High School
The original Villages gym was never designed to do what its currently doing. The gym was made to host assembly’s, graduations, spirit events, and of course basketball events, but no one could have envisioned where things would take the program in a short 20 year period! As time wore on the original arena just couldn’t handle the events…. The football field at many times didn’t have the grandstand capacity and The school became too small for the student body. Even media were forced to develop makeshift tables just to do their work. At times the tables were so close to the court that athletes would often slam into the tables.
(Cody Hills of The Villages Daily Sun and Jordan Nygen using a makeshift media table due to inadequate space in the current gym.)
In many instances, people were watching the games in the cafeteria and outside the doors during the Tre Mann years from 2015-2018. Tre Mann now starts for The Oklahoma City Thunder. The gym became much too small to accommodate the fans, families and staff necessary to put on such massive events. Safe to say a new facility was necessary and that’s exactly what happened a few years ago when The Villages broke ground on Their New Home. Every game The Villages makes it feel like a college atmosphere! If you’ve never been to a Buffalo game, it’s a very intimidating place to play.
Although the final regular season high school basketball game will be played it’s likely not the last high school basketball game to be played at the facility as The Villages will most likely host a playoff game. However there’s so many memories everyone has about the many great players to have walked through the gym doors. As the final buzzer rings it will signal an end of an era. Down below you can see the beautiful new gym and school that will be the most technologically state of the art facility in the area!
(The Brand New Villages High School Gymnasium.)
(The New Villages High School slated to open sometime in the 2nd or 3rd quarter of 2023!)
What Will Become Of The Original High School?
Luckily the arena and the school is not being demolished. The High School will become the northern Junior High School in The Villages. It will host grades 6-8 and will be much more accommodating to The Junior High School Needs. It will be one of the most advanced and beautiful Junior High Complexes in the state. All athletics facilities will be saved. The gym likewise will be saved.
(The Old Villages Charter High School will become the new North Villages Junior High School at the conclusion of the school year.)
While the gym will no longer host big events, it will be a perfect training ground for young athletes. The gym will also still host Junior High Basketball and other smaller events. Coach McdDowell who coaches The Buffalo has told me “it will be difficult to leave the original arena, but they are excited for the next chapter!”
We wish The Villages the best of luck as they transition to a new High School next year!
Photos Provided By –
The Villages High School