Friday’s snow made a mighty big mess for high school sports scheduling.
High school basketball’s final weekend of the regular season and the start of next week’s region tournaments have been greatly altered. The wrestling state sectionals for all classifications have been scrapped, forcing the state championships into its previous four-day event format at the Gwinnett Arena.
“It’s about as bad as it could be as far as cancelling games,” East Hall girls basketball coach Joey Rider said.
Wrestling programs have dealt with bad weather all season. Last month, the Area 7-AAA duals championship was pushed back twice due to snow, eventually consolidating the two-day meet into one day at West Forsyth High.
On Thursday of this week, the GHSA pushed the sectionals back to Monday and Tuesday of next week, due to the initial threat of winter weather. With the cancellation of the state sectionals, a process only put into place last season, the state brackets go back to the old form with 32 wrestlers in each weight class. The bigger bracket also adds a day back to the state championships, which will begin with weigh-ins Wednesday night in Gwinnett, and concludes with the finals Saturday night in Duluth.
“I think the GHSA is making the right decision, because you have to look out for the safety of the wrestlers,” Flowery Branch coach Shane Lancaster said. “However, as a coach, it is very frustrating to gear up for the sectionals and possible opponents, and now it is all up in the air and having to start from scratch.”
Many regular season games still need to be played in Region 7-AAA, 8-AA, 8-A and 6-AA for region tournament seeding. As a result, the region tournaments have been pushed back at least one day, but even that is subject to change. All local basketball games were canceled on Friday and most plan on trying to play today, weather permitting.
The one exception is Forsyth County schools, which will not play until Monday, which includes Johnson’s game at Lambert and Flowery Branch’s game at West Forsyth. With the Region 7-AAA tournament being pushed back to a start on Wednesday, the semifinals and finals will not be played until Feb. 22-23.
In Region 7-AAA, East Hall’s girls (18-5, 10-1 Region 7B-AAA) need a win against West Hall tonight to claim the No. 1 spot in the subregion outright. Rider said the biggest obstacle with so many days between games is a possible slip in execution.
“This time of year, we want to be hitting on all cylinders,” Rider added. “And you have to play to be able to do that.”
In Region 6-AA, Buford plans to play Lovett today. If the Lady Wolves (22-2, 11-1) win against Lovett, then a coin flip will decide the region champion between Buford and Greater Atlanta Christian. Buford girls coach Gene Durden says they plan to start their region tournament next Thursday.
In Region 8-AA, there will be a coaches meeting Sunday to determine rescheduling and tournament seeding issues. Riverside Military’s (15-3, 8-0 Region 8A-AA) game scheduled for Friday against Lakeview Academy (14-9, 13-3 Region 8-A) was canceled and will not be rescheduled.
The schedule for the Region 8-A tournament is still to be determined.