State basketball tournament canceled

Juneau’s regional championship teams won’t play for state titles

Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaat.at Kalé girls basketball and Thunder Mountain High School boys basketball teams secured victory Saturday in their respective games, winning the Region V tournament.

Normally, that would come with a berth in the state tournament, but Alaska School Activities Association announced Saturday the 2020 State Basketball and Cheer Championships are canceled in light of COVID-19 concerns.

“I think they’re disappointed, particularly the seniors,” said JDHS girls coach Steve Potter. “They had a real chance at winning. I think the juniors also appreciate how hard it is to get a chance to play at the state championship.”

The cancellation comes in tandem with closing public schools to students and suspending after-school activities until March 30. Gov. Mike Dunleavy announced the statewide closings Friday.

“There was definitely a sad look of disappointment on their face when I had to confirm it with them,” said TMHS boys coach John Blasco. “These guys have put a lot of time and years into getting where we are. I think we had a real chance of winning it.”

With all extracurricular activities canceled for the foreseeable future, the sports season is effectively over. Players can’t practice, and teams can’t participate in championships or awards banquets.

Blasco said he believes that this won’t affect the chances of seniors who were looking to play college basketball, though the senior exposure camp to be held in Anchorage was among the events canceled.

“We’re graduating six (seniors), four of which played significant minutes. Four of my five starters are seniors. I don’t expect cancellations to affect their chances,” Blasco said. “We’ll look to have our year-end banquet. I’m not sure how that’s going to work.”

The other regional tournaments were scheduled for this weekend, Blasco said, with the state championship scheduled for the weekend after.

“One can only hope that all these measures taken nationwide and globally were enough,” Blasco said.

• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at 757.621.1197 or mlockett@juneauempire.com.

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