One team was lined up to walk through the school to receive well-wishes from students and staff, while another one had just found out about a venue change that morning.
Then early Friday afternoon, the Crothersville and Brownstown Central boys basketball teams learned they wouldn’t be playing in regionals today.
The Indiana High School Athletic Association announced due to the number of schools closing for an extended period of time because of the coronavirus, the boys basketball tournament series cannot be completed as scheduled. Subsequently, the boys basketball tournament is postponed immediately.
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Despite the news, Crothersville head coach Greg Kilgore said the team walked through the school hallways before getting in a bus and waving at well-wishers lined up around town.
The team then returned to the school, where Kilgore talked to his players, who a week ago won the school’s first boys sectional title.
He said the players were disappointed because not only were they looking forward to playing in their first regional, but also enjoying the experience of practicing in the gymnasium at Loogootee High School, having dinner at a restaurant and staying in a hotel.
“But at the same time, we told them, ‘Regardless whether they wind up rescheduling it or if it’s done, you still did something nobody else had done. Don’t let anything take away from that,’” Kilgore said.
Later after the school day ended, the team traveled to Clarksville to enjoy a meal together at Outback Steakhouse.
Brownstown head coach Dave Benter said he learned very late Thursday night that the regional host site, Greencastle High School, was canceling.
“We were in limbo as to where we were going to be playing, but the IHSAA was adamant at the time that they were not canceling, that we were still on schedule,” he said. “They just had to find a new venue to play.”
Mid-morning Friday, Benter learned the regional was moving to Danville Community High School. The team’s plan was to practice in Brownstown on Friday night and go up to Danville this morning to practice.
Around 12:15 p.m. Friday, though, Athletic Director Mark DeHart told him the IHSAA had postponed the tournament.
“I think everybody has to look at the bigger picture. We’ve all got to realize it’s not just about us. We need to do what’s best for everybody,” he said, as the initial plan was to limit each participating school to its 12 players, coaches and staff and 75 fans, including parents, siblings and grandparents of the players.
Still, he felt bad for his players, who had worked hard all season and won the school’s 14th boys basketball sectional title.
“Obviously, they wanted to go compete and go play,” Benter said. “We were just kind of at the mercy of the IHSAA to make a decision. There’s not really a precedent for them. In their defense, I know they are trying to get the games in, but they are also trying to look at what’s best for everyone.”
After school Friday, Benter and his coaching staff had a meeting with the players.
“We talked about this isn’t our season-ending meeting. Right now, it’s just a postponement,” he said. “We’re hoping to go ahead and play at some point.”
On Friday, all Jackson County public and private schools announced they are off until at least April 6. That also means no events or practices can take place, so the basketball teams will wait to hear from the IHSAA about the fate of the state tournament.
They hope they haven’t played their final games of the season.
“Some of them were disappointed, but I think everybody took it well,” Benter said. “I think everybody is doing the best they can to get through. There’s not really a precedent for this, so we need to all work together and do what’s best.”