Mother Nature impacts basketball tournaments

Published 8:28 am Thursday, February 19, 2015

High school basketball conference tournaments as well as some first-round state playoff games took a hit from Mother Nature with the ice, snow, and sleet that plagued the Tar Heel state this week.  It also forced some postponements and some cancellations following word from state athletic organizations.

Basketball conference tournaments were scheduled for this week for the public schools, with state playoff seeding happening on Saturday.

The N.C. High School Athletic Association met Wednesday and ruled the seeding for the basketball playoffs will take place as scheduled on Saturday; however, no conference tournament games may be played since the weather has impacted the large majority of conference basketball tournaments and several have already been cancelled.

Furthermore, the NCHSAA will not use conference tournament results this year in the basketball seeding process.

If conferences have ties for positions in the standings and want to hold the special playoff games to break those ties—they often have occurred as part of the conference tournament—and are able to do so, those games may count in terms of determining state playoff qualifiers.

According to the NCHSAA, reports began to surface on Twitter on Tuesday that the Association had pushed back the playoff seeding to Sunday to allow for conference championship games on Saturday. The NCHSAA said that no such decision has been made.

“In terms of basketball seeding, with so many school systems out of school today and more inclement weather expected today and tonight, we felt the most consistent and fairest way was not to count conference tournament results for seeding,” said  Davis Whitfield, the commissioner of the NCHSAA.  “We didn’t want conferences or school systems to feel they had to make a difficult decision to play because of the impact on seeding. However, allowing them to play games to break ties if they are able provides them with some flexibility.”

The Northeastern Coastal Conference now will have one day of games, Friday, because Hertford County – and as of Wednesday afternoon, Bertie – has cancelled school for Thursday leaving just one day for games.

Both Bertie High athletic director Randy Whitaker and Hertford County boy’s basketball coach and athletic director Charles Simmons said the one-day tournament Friday would be at Northeastern High School in Elizabeth City and involve only the tie-breaker games to decide seeding for the state playoffs: Northeastern versus Bertie for boy’s first-place and Hertford County versus Northeastern for girl’s third-place.

Bertie’s girl’s are the top-seed and don’t have to play, while Hertford County’s boy’s will also sit this week, but get into the playoffs as the league’s third-place team.

The Coastal-10 1-A Conference cancelled their tournament altogether.  That means the Gates County girl’s (23-1) and boy’s (20-3) will both be the top-seeds from their conference; the Red Baron boy’s finished in a tie with Camden County but beat the Bruins twice to claim number-one.

The Two-Rivers 1-A Conference also cancelled their conference tournament.  There will be a one-game tie-breaker between Northampton County (10-12, 5-5,Two Rivers) and Tarboro (5-5, Two Rivers) to settle third place in the league behind Riverside and South Creek.    The Northampton girls (5-14, 4-6, Two Rivers) can only get into the post-season if they are selected as a wild-card.

The NC Independent Schools Athletic Association merely postponed their entire state tournament – which was to have begun on Monday – for one week because of weather.

“Due to the extreme weather, the 2015 NCISAA Combined Basketball Tournament has been postponed to next Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, Feb. 26-28,” said associate director Chappell Carter. “Schools involved in first-round playoff games may schedule those games.”

This means the three area teams involved in independent school post-season play, Lawrence Academy’s boys and girls teams and the RidgecroftSchool girls, will all be playing Friday at home.

Lawrence girls will host Hickory Christian in Merry Hill followed by the Warrior boy’s home game against OakwoodSchool, both at a time to be announced.  Ridgecroft, the Tarheel Independent Conference tournament champs, will host Statesville Christian at home Friday at 6 p.m.