Area Basketball Coaches, Players React to Suspension of State Tournaments
With the Michigan High School Athletic Association announcing Thursday afternoon that all winter sports postseason tournaments are suspended due to COVID-19 concerns, MISportsNow caught up with area basketball coaches to discuss the postponements.
The Cadillac girls basketball program was one of 16 girls basketball teams remaining in the state tournament. The Vikings were scheduled to face Sault Ste. Marie in a Division 2 regional championship Thursday night. Cadillac coach Mike McLaurin says the decision will put a lot of minds at ease.
“I don’t think that we had thought about it much over the past week, as we’ve progressed through districts, that this might be the situation that’s coming up. And then, right at about 2:30, we got the last announcement that they were suspending all play,” McLaurin said. “You understand it though. You’re putting a lot of minds at ease. There are a lot of people involved. These facilities get crowded. And I think you just try to take the public sentiment, and protect everyone.”
Longtime St. Ignace girls basketball coach Dorene Ingalls shared her thoughts on the situation.
“It’s hard when I look at my girls just crying,” Ignalls said. “It’s unbearable to try to tell them that sometimes you get thrown curveballs and you’ve got to be ready to attack that back. But it’s hard. It’s hard.”
The Saints were scheduled to face Engadine for a regional championship after finishing runner-up in Division 4 state finals in 2018-19.
After winning its first district championship in 20-plus year last week, the Manton girls program is another area team that was set to play for a regional championship on Thursday.
“I’m honestly still in shock. Like, I’m a senior,” Manton senior Jaden Wilder said. “I could’ve potentially played my last game on Tuesday, and not even have known it.
“I can’t imagine what everyone is going through, like we’re all just in shock. We have a group chat and stuff, and none of us even know what to think.”
“We haven’t been in this spot as a program for over 20 years, and so to finally get a taste of it, and just get shut down, it’s disappointing. But, we understand that we have to do what’s safe, and what’s safe, you know, to keep everybody healthy,” added Manton coach JP Katona.