State high school basketball tournaments cancelled midstream, as facilities close due to virus concerns
Colorado’s governing body overseeing high school sports and activities has cancelled the state basketball tournaments that were underway in Denver and Greeley over concerns about the spread of COVID-19, or coronavirus.
Several games had already concluded Thursday in the 1A and 2A quarterfinal round at UNC-Greeley, the 3A quarterfinals at the University of Denver, and in the 4A and 5A semifinals at the Denver Coliseum when the decision was made by the Colorado High School Activities Association to end play.
No Garfield County teams were still playing in the tournaments, but the Glenwood Springs boys were one game away from having their season’s fate determined by the response to the virus outbreak, instead of on the court. The Demons lost 44-40 to Pueblo West in Glenwood last weekend in the quarterfinal round.
Up until early Thursday, CHSAA had maintained that the tournaments would be played unless a state agency or a host venue made a decision affecting that status. Earlier in the day, the decision was made to suspend all spring sporting events and activities until at least April 6.
On Thursday evening, the CHSAA office was informed by DU officials that the school would no longer be able to host the Class 3A state basketball tournament.
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“With uncertainty at all additional sites, including a state of emergency declaration by the City of Denver, the difficult decision has been made to cancel the remainder of all state basketball tournaments in all classes,” CHSAA said in a statement issued Thursday night.
“Everything we’ve done up to this point was to try and keep the experience of a state basketball tournament for our student participants and high school communities,” CHSAA Commissioner Rhonda Blanford-Green said in the statement. “In the face of this unprecedented public health emergency, we are compelled to discontinue play in all tournaments.”
The move is in line with similar decisions from the NCAA, which cancelled all remaining winter sports championships and spring sports championships. Other high school associations, including Connecticut, Oregon, Texas, California and Kentucky have made similar announcements.
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The teams aren’t vying to one up the other in the rankings or looking to get a leg up in the league standings this fall, but that will hardly make the stakes any less meaningful for Basalt and Glenwood Springs high schools when they meet on the football field Friday night.