Hope Remains As Realities Of Rescheduling State Basketball Tournaments Set In

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- Though most states cancelled their state high school tournaments outright as the COVID-19 pandemic hit the US, the South Dakota High School Activities Association postponed them, opening the door for rescheduling.

That's keeping hope alive even though that door seems to be closing by the day.

Tonight could have been the moment that the O'Gorman girl's basketball team made it's mark in South Dakota lore had they finished off a perfect 24-0 season with a state title.

Instead, they hope their shot at history, doesn't become history.

"There is certainly no script for it. This is all unprecedented stuff." O'Gorman Head Coach Kent Kolsrud says.

"There is just still some hope in me. I know deep down inside that the SDHSAA really do care about our athletes and want to see them finish this season." Roosevelt Boy's Basketball Coach Mitch Begeman says.

By postponing its six state tournaments last week the SDHSAA kept hope alive for a rescheduled tournament. For that to happen, teams will need time to practice and get back in basketball shape.

"All of us are in the same boat. So if they say you get three practices and you're playing, we'll do it." Washington Girl's Basketball Head Coach Jamie Parish says.

"Five to seven days, something of that nature, just a chance to get our kids back together. Conditioning is certainly going to be a factor. We don't want anybody to get hurt." Kolsrud says.

Even if the all clear were given to resume after the eight week period in which the CDC has recommended no events of 50 or more people, it would put the basketball tournaments in direct competition with spring sports which, as of now, are also in a holding pattern.

"We'd show up and play tomorrow if they wanted us to. Track is a little bit of a different animal there where kids need to run and condition and have a base. You just can't show up and have a state track meet. On our boy's basketball team Ganin Thompson is going to play baseball at Michigan State, and are we supposed to tell Ganin you know what? You don't get to play baseball for the next two weeks because we have to finish our state tournament." Parish says.

With all of this and more to consider, it seems the window to play these tournaments is closing by the day.

"The more and more that we get pushed back with school not happening, and these regulations of having no more than 10 or 50 people in attendance, realistically I just don't know how it's going to happen in the near future." Begeman says.

Yet those we spoke to understand that there's a far bigger and more important fight which needs to be won.

"Geno Auriemma said right after the NCAA was (cancelled) you have to be a good teammate. It's difficult to explain to a high school kid, you know you guys are at a low risk, if it's just the kids, no fans, you know you can creat all these scenarios, but ultimately what's best for the team? What's best for everybody is that you got to lock it down for a little bit and you got to wait it out and you got to make sure it's safe for everybody, not just the young people." Parish says.

As of now the original plan was to have six tournaments in four locations, with combined boys and girls double-A in Sioux Falls and combined boys and girls A in Rapid City.

The boys B would be in Aberdeen and the girls B would have to be resumed in Spearfish since they completed quarterfinal play before postponements.

Of note-the Premier Center website says the tournaments are cancelled and, as of now, does have other events scheduled for late April and May which could conflict should restrictions on public gatherings be lifted.