Weather has thrown a kink into the high school sports postseason.
On Tuesday, the South Carolina High School League announced significant changes for its state wrestling finals and the final week of the regular season and then playoffs for basketball. The move came on the same day that schools around the state closed and postponed athletic events.
And with so many teams still attempting to make up as many as four days of school closings and the accompanying basketball games, the SCHSL had no choice but to push back the start of the first two rounds of the hoops playoffs.
“Being with the girls, it’s always been a hassle anyway, because we always started on Monday,” North Myrtle Beach coach Jude Hunt said. “That gives you no time. There will be some question marks, but I think having those two extra days will be a help to us.
“There are two schools of thought. One says you don’t want to break your momentum. The other is that you want to be well rested. You have the good with the bad. If we were on a great roll or something, I’d be worried that our momentum is being broken up.”
The reprieve is a welcome change for many area teams. Several schools were already scheduled to play as many as six region games in the final two weeks. Still others are looking at potential play-in games to determine playoff berths or seeding.
That could eliminate the extra two days some classes will receive from the SCHSL postseason extension.
Region VII-AAA is set to have a full slate of games on Thursday and Friday, following delays of games originally scheduled for Tuesday. Several possible scenarios exist where one-game playoffs to determine postseason seeding or berths will be necessary to sort out the final region standings.
That region will have to decide if it will schedule its play-in games for Saturday, having at least two teams playing three games in three days the week prior to the playoffs – or waiting until Monday or Tuesday. The latter is an option now that the SCHSL backed up the start of the postseason.
The release from the SCHSL states that all regular-season games (including play-in games) must be completed by Tuesday.
The school cancellations across the state this week, as well as two weeks ago, also bring about another caveat to the situation. Varsity teams are not allowed to practice while school is not in session.
The added time before the start of the playoffs could be a much-needed time for that.
“There’s some things that we can work on that will help us,” North Myrtle Beach boys coach Frank Moorhead said. “I think it will be to our advantage. Whose advantage it is, I don’t know. I think it’s the same for everybody. But for us, there are some positives to us. We need the practice. There are some things we need to fine-tune. We rely on shooting. We have guys who need to put up shots on a consistent basis. For us, that’s important to get in the gym.”
Depending on further cancellations later this week and the need for play-in games, teams may have time to sneak in practices.
Now, the girls Class AAA and Class A first rounds will begin on Wednesday, Feb. 19. The Class AAAA and Class AA girls will begin on Thursday, Feb. 20. That same day, the Class AAA and Class A boys will also begin their postseason match-ups.
The Class AAAA and Class AA boys brackets will remain on their previous schedule, with first-round games taking place on Wednesday, Feb. 19.
The schedules, assuming there aren’t more delays, will then proceed as originally scheduled for the third and subsequent rounds. That includes the March 1 state semifinals in Greenville and Florence, respectively, and the state championships at Columbia’s Colonial Life Arena on March 8.
The state wrestling finals, which will include one Grand Strand team, have also been altered. Per the SCHSL, Dreher High School will no longer be the central site of the four finals duals. Schools must reach an agreement on a neutral site and date and complete the finals no later than Thursday, Feb. 20.
St. James is scheduled to head to Socastee on Wednesday in the Class AAA Lower State finals. The winner of that match will then have to coordinate with the winner of the Eastside/Belton-Honea Path winner from the Upper State. With the Greenville area expecting ice more ice in the next day, that state semifinal had was expected to be postponed by at least one day, if not longer.
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