Missouri state high school basketball finals canceled

A referee makes a call in front of empty stands during a state quarterfinal game Saturday, March 14, at Blue Springs South High School. On Monday, March 16, Missouri State High School Activities Association canceled the state basketball tournament amid concerns of spreading the COVID-19 coronavirus.

The Missouri State High School Activities Association has canceled the Show-Me Showdown state basketball final four for Class 4 and 5 at JQH Arena and Hammons Student Center in Springfield amid concerns of spreading the COVID-19 coronavirus.

In a statement released Monday, March 16, MSHSAA said the decision was made after consulting with member schools as well as local and state officials.

“We understand the unexpected hurdles this creates for our schools and fans, and apologize for the inconveniences it has caused,” MSHSAA Executive Director Dr. Kerwin Urhahn said in the release. “Our thoughts are with our schools as they navigate the uncertainty of these times.”

MSHSAA Communications Director Jason West had previously said in an interview with Ozark Sports Zone that the event would be shortened to two days with semifinal games scheduled for Friday, March 20 and championship games scheduled for Saturday, March 21. That is no longer the case.

A plan to still have the games with limited visitors was derailed when the Center for Disease Control released a recommendation Sunday, March 15, that all gatherings of more than 50 people should be banned.

MSHSAA said tickets already purchased will be void and MSHSAA will work with schools to handle any necessary reimbursements.

Missouri was the last state to cancel its remaining high school state basketball tournament games. Louisiana, Nebraska and New Mexico were the only states to complete their state championships without cancellations.

{p dir=”ltr”}MSHSAA announced later in the day that spring sports championships have not been canceled.

{p dir=”ltr”}The organization reiterated that teams are not able to practice or play games when school is not in session. Liberty, Kearney and Smithville school districts have announced that schools will be closed through at least the end of March.

{p dir=”ltr”}“If we are able to maintain locations for hosting the championship series, and schools are wishing to participate in the post season, we will conduct the championships,” MSHSAA Executive Director Kerwin Urhahn said in the release. “We are not canceling any Spring sports at this time!”

{p dir=”ltr”}MSHSAA did cancel district tournaments and championships for speech, debate, theater and music festivals. The organization is still evaluating scholar bowl events, which has its district tournaments scheduled for April 18, and plan to have new recommendations by the end of March.

Sports Writer Mac Moore can be reached at 389-6643 or mac.moore@mycouriertribune.com.

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