(3-10-21) Since the pandemic started last year high school basketball in Illinois has been in ‘I can’t believe this is happening’ mode.
For the first time since the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) held its 1st boys State basketball championship in 1908 (Final: Peoria (H.S.) 48, Rock Island (H.S.) 29-)…Illinois did not have a state final tournament in 2020. More bad news they will not have a state tournament again in 2021, for the 2nd year in a row.
The Class 1A and 2A Final Fours were set to play before COVID 19 ended that…those teams who never had the chance to play for a state title included –
1A – Aurora Christian, Goreville, Madison and Roanoke-Benson
2A – Breese Mater Dei, Chicago Orr, Timothy Christian and Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin
3A and 4A tournaments ended before Sectional Finals had been completed, leaving 32 more teams in basketball limbo.
The shortened 2021 Illinois delayed season started in early February with the last date of competition for schools be played this Saturday (March 13th). During this time schools threw together last second schedules, many were against other league members. Some form of accomplishment was put in place by naming a league champion and some held a tournament and a championship game.
Due to state mandates by the Governor and the Department of Health players were required to wear a mask during the game…so why did college and pro basketball games played in Illinois not have the same restrictions? Michigan has also required masks for basketball, while Iowa, Indiana and Ohio (who are all having State tournaments this year) are not required to wear one.
Crowds were very limited during this short season, the financial impact on school districts in supporting their sports programs looks to impact schools for years to come.
Time will tell what the impact of all of this will be for Illinois HS basketball in the future. When you consider the season was in jeopardy of not play at all…one positive was that basketball was continued, even for a short time.