INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WFIE) - The Indiana High School Athletic Association made an unprecedented move as the organization officially canceled the 2020 IHSAA boys basketball state tournament on Thursday.
This means the Hoosier State will not crown a high school state champion in boys basketball for first time since the tournament’s inception in 1911.
“It is with great sadness and disappointment that we inform Hoosiers of the cancellation of the remaining games of the 2020 IHSAA boys basketball tournament series,” IHSAA Commissioner Bobby Cox said. “While the Association maintained every hope of continuance, it is now evident those hopes are now unreachable. Albeit there will not be regional, semi-state and state champions crowned across our four classifications, the health and safety of our public remains paramount and our primary focus.”
IHSAA officials made the announcement only hours after Gov. Eric Holcomb decided to close all schools across Indiana until at least May 1 due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Four local teams were directly affected by this historic decision: Reitz (Class 4A), South Spencer (2A), Northeast Dubois (1A) and Heritage Hills (3A).
Led by 5-star junior guard and Indiana commit Khristian Lander, the Panthers took care of business and won the program’s first sectional title in four years.
Similar to the Panthers, South Spencer clinched its berth into regional play for the first time in four years, but the Rebels achieved so much along the way. By the season’s end, the Rebels finished with 22 wins - South Spencer’s highest win total in nearly 25 years.
Another squad that was hoping to leave its mark on the road to a state championship was Northeast Dubois. After defeating Day School in their sectional championship, the Jeeps secured its first trip to the IHSAA Regional in six years.
Last but definitely not least, Heritage Hills sees its season for the ages come to an abrupt end. In route to winning a school-record 22 games, the Patriots earned its first sectional championship in 17 years, as well as aspiring to win the program’s first-ever regional title.
14 Sports spoke with Reitz head coach Michael Adams shortly after the news came down on Thursday.
“Late this morning, I called most of my players that I was able to get ahold of, and just check in on them - see how they’re doing," Adams said. "See if they’re staying at home and doing what they’re supposed to be doing. More than anything, just to check up on them - tell them I’m thinking of them and to hang in there. But with this news, I’ll probably give them a call back and just talk about where we go from here, as a group and as a program, and try to move on.”
As of now, IHSAA officials have not given an official word on the status of the upcoming spring sports season.
Last week, the IHSAA gave each individual member school the ability to decide on whether to move forward with its spring sports schedule.
Barring any future changes, the first day of practice is set to be held on May 1.