High school basketball in the era of COVID–19 is driving fans, coaches and players crazy.
Whether it is a team like the Whitley County Lady Colonels, who had been on a season-opening winning streak prior to Monday night’s loss to North Laurel, or the Williamsburg Yellow Jackets, who are looking to the next game to get them back on the winning track, the next game on the schedule is an opportunity to make something positive happen.
How frustrating is it for these teams who may, like the Whitley County boys on Monday, find out just hours before that the next game is postponed?
Corbin’s boys went through it, not opening the season until Jan. 14.
Williamsburg’s boys had two games cancelled last week because of COVID–19.
Whitley County’s girls have seen three cancellations so far this season, though they have not been in a row.
The Williamsburg girls experienced their first COVID–19 cancellation on Saturday.
There will, no doubt, be more cancellations down the road.
The big questions will come in late March and early April when district, region and the state tournaments are scheduled.
Will it be like 2020 when the girls’ state tournament was cancelled with five of the eight first round games having been played?
The boy’s Sweet 16 never tipped off.
The boy’s tournament is scheduled to begin March 31, with the semi-finals and finals scheduled for April 3.
The girls’ tournament, which will follow the same format, is scheduled to begin on April 7 and conclude on April 10.
KHSAA officials noted that the altered format is because of the tournaments being scheduled to occur around Easter Sunday.
“The four-day format was standard for the state basketball tournament for several years prior to the 2013 Boys’ Sweet 16 when a statewide legislatively-initiated panel recommended separating the prior semifinal/championship Saturday schedule into two days,” officials noted.
The one big change will be the limit on crowd size, especially at the state tournament.
The Kentucky High School Athletic Association’s Board of Control announced that crowd sizes for the 2021 Boys’ and Girls’ Sweet 16 will be limited to 15 percent.
With a capacity of 23,500 at Rupp Arena, that will limit the crowd to 3,525.