With schools around the metro-Atlanta area closed Tuesday and today, and with the possibility of snow and ice lasting into Thursday morning, the Georgia High School Association made the move Monday to consolidate the traditional state wrestling championships into a two-day event. GHSA associate director Denis Tallini, who oversees wrestling for the state association, said the decision to change the start of the tournament to Friday is to make sure everyone can travel safely to and from the event in Duluth.
The state basketball tournaments have also been delayed. With the possibility of region tournaments continuing into Monday, first-round state playoff games will now be played next Wednesday (girls) and Thursday (boys).
In order to streamline the region tournaments, the GHSA added a provision that, if necessary, teams could play two games in one day, provided they have at least four hours of rest in between.
Organizers of the region tournaments are putting contingency plans into effect, but those are subject to change depending on what the weather will allow Thursday.
Etowah athletic director Robert Van Alstyne said his plan is set for whichever day the Region 5AAAAAA tournament starts. The first day would consist of three girls games at 5 p.m., 6:30 p.m., and 8 p.m. in one gymnasium, while the boys would play at 4 p.m., 5:30 p.m., 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. in a second gym.
There is one fewer girls game on the schedule with Roswell having hosted nearby rival Milton in an opening-round game Monday afternoon.
The second day of the 5AAAAAA tournament would consist of the four semifinal games, with the final day set for the championships. The only question at this point is if the tournament opens Thursday or Friday.
As of Monday night, the Region 7AAAAA tournament at Sequoyah High School was set to resume Thursday with the girls games originally scheduled Tuesday. The boys games scheduled for today will be played Friday.
The semifinals will move to Saturday, with the championship games Monday.
If games are postponed again Thursday, the tournament will likely return Friday with an eight-game marathon.
The schedule would begin at 10 a.m. with four games taking place during the day, with matchups between teams from Cobb, Forsyth and Fulton counties — all of which will be on their respective mid-winter breaks. Cherokee County students will still be in school Friday, so any games involving Creekview and Sequoyah would be played between 4 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.
River Ridge athletic director Mike Baker, the Region 7AAAA secreatary, said his region has two plans in place to complete its basketball tournament.
The first plan would spread the tournament over three days — Friday, Saturday and Monday. But if school — or afterschool activities at least — are canceled again Friday, Baker was preparing brackets for a compacted tournament that would be held on just Saturday and Monday.
“I think the soonest we would be able to play is Friday,” Baker said, “so we have two plans in place.”
Baker said playing the entire tournament in just two days is possible because tournament host Cass has two gyms on its campus. The region may also take advantage of the GHSA’s waiver for a team playing two games in one day.
“If all the schools are back in session on Friday, we’ll play Friday-Saturday-Monday, and we already sent out the brackets,” Baker said. “I’m working on the brackets for the two-day tournament now. We are going to have to use dual sites, but (Cass has) those facilities right there on campus, so we are able to do that. It won’t be too bad.”
Baker said there is some concern that not all of the schools in Region 7AAAA will be in session Friday, because of the way they are spread over several counties. River Ridge is the southernmost school. Others are located in further north in cities like Elijay, Cedartown, Jasper and Dalton.
By the time the tournament begin, many of the teams won’t have practiced together in nearly a week. Baker said he feels that, as long as all the schools have had the same layoff, it shouldn’t effect the outcome.
There would only be an unfair advantage if one or more programs get extra practice time.
“Everybody is in the same boat,” Baker said. “We’ll just see how we handle it. It’s just part of basketball. Everybody knows that.”
River Ridge has the top seeds in both the girls and boys brackets.