Concerns about the spread of COVID-19 finally affected local high schools sports Thursday, March 12, as the New York State Public High Schools Athletic Association announced in a press release on its website that all winter championships were “postponed indefinitely.”
The announcement, made via Twitter just after 3:40 p.m. Thursday, caused the postponement of the South Kortright girls basketball regional final against Livingston Manor, which was previously slated for a 5 p.m. start Thursday at Sullivan West High School.
The Class C girls basketball regional final between Cooperstown and Unatego, scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Saturday, March 14, at SRC Arena has also been postponed.
“It is certainly understood that postponing the remaining winter state championships is disappointing, however the opportunity to participate in a NYSPHSAA championship event does not outweigh our responsibility and obligation to ensure students participate in a healthy and safe environment,” the released stated.
Unatego coach Bob Zeh said he was in practice with his team when he was informed of the postponement.
“It was tough for us today because we were 10 minutes into our practice when we heard it was going to be with players and coaches only,” Zeh said. “That set us back a little, then the superintendent came in 15 minutes later and said the games had been postponed.”
“Obviously the seniors were upset, so was everyone else but the seniors especially,” Zeh continued. “All of a sudden you’re here, then bang, it’s postponed.”
Similarly, Niles mentioned his seniors.
“I don’t want to say we’re disappointed because I understand the logic, and it’s necessary. I just think a lot about the seniors if we don’t get to play it,” Niles said.
SK girls basketball coach Josh Burroughs could not immediately be reached for comment.
NYSPHSAA had not established a timetable for potentially rescheduling the games. Niles said he was not sure what his team would do in the coming days, while Zeh said his squad would continue to practice until more information became available. Both mentioned that their seasons may already be over.
“It’s hard to make a plan because we don’t have anything solid,” Niles said. “Hopefully more info is available tomorrow in terms of if or when we will pick back up again. We’ll just have to wait to get some more solid information.”
“I was thinking that usually only one team wins their last game, but right now it seems like everyone that’s still playing might,” Niles quipped.
“With it happening so late this afternoon, it was hard to say it was canceled, I imagine,” Zeh said. “I will not be shocked if we hear that it’s been canceled.”