The games will not go on after all, for now.
Friday the Indiana High School Athletic Association reversed its decision to carry on with Saturday’s regional games by postponing the postseason state tournament indefinitely. In a release, the organization cited the number of schools around the state closing for extended periods of time due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19).
“The IHSAA has diligently attempted to continue the boys’ basketball tournament series as scheduled. We greatly appreciate the support of our member schools and our patrons. [But] with the number of schools now taking extended breaks from school, it’s become impossible to complete the tournament series as originally scheduled. Therefore, the IHSAA boys’ basketball tournament series is postponed immediately,” IHSAA commissioner Bobby Cox said in an accompanying video statement. “The association will continue to evaluate the utility of continuing the boys’ basketball tournament at a later date and will inform our member schools, and the public, as soon as a definitive decision is reached.
“We thank you for your understanding during these unprecedented times.”
On Thursday the IHSAA announced plans to play Saturday’s regional tournaments at 16 sites across the state, but with only essential staff and immediate family members in attendance.
However Thursday evening — after the NCAA canceled its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, the National Hockey League suspended play and Major League Baseball announced it was suspending spring training games and delaying the start of its regular season — the possibility of the postponement or cancellation of the 110th annual state tournament loomed large.
“That would be pretty disappointing,” Providence senior guard Sterling Huber said about the prospect of such after practice Thursday, “because we’ve worked pretty hard all season for this and to make it to regionals and not get to play would be pretty heartbreaking. We just want to keep playing basketball, because that’s all we’ve been doing. It’s our passion, we want to keep playing.”
That sentiment was echoed by Huber’s teammate, and classmate, Austin Barnett.
“I’ll definitely be disappointed,” he said about the prospect of postponement or cancellation of the tourney. “I hope we get to play, we’ve been working hard all season for it. We want to come and win another championship.”
However less than 24 hours later, with a couple of the regional sites reportedly unable or unwilling to host games, the about-face announcement was made and the regional, semistate and State Finals rounds were postponed.
“In the grand scheme of things it’s super important to our kids, coaches and families,” Brandon Hoffman, the head coach of reigning Class 3A state champion Silver Creek, said Thursday night. “But in the grand scheme of things, people have to do what’s right.”