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Winter weather hampers region tournaments

ATLANTA -- The winter storm landed right in the middle of region tournament for high school basketball teams around the state. The Georgia High School Association has been forced to make alternative plans for the upcoming state basketball tournament.

Region tournaments were originally scheduled to be complete by this weekend. The GHSA has pushed the date back to Wednesday, February 19th, to ease concerns over weather related delays. Remember, school closings mean no games, and no practice at the most important time of the season.

We had a great practice Monday , nothing yesterday or today," says Lakeview Academy boys coach Mike Lawley." Not sure how players will respond by the time we play.We work with kids, not professionals. A few days with no basketball can affect skills very quickly."

Buford boys coach Allen Whitehart voices the same concern. " Hopefully the weather doesn't disrupt our rhythm. Unfortunately everyone will be affected by the storm. Playoff plans are at the mercy of the storm! "

The GHSA would like to be able to seed the state tournament after play is complete on February 19th. In order to make that happen a Sub-Varsity provision , normally used by Middle School and J-V teams will be allowed for Varsity basketball teams. " It would allow teams to play 2 games in one day," says Ernie Yarbrough of the GHSA. " The Sub-Varsity rule would allow teams to play 2 games with a 4 hour break between games" So, if a region reaches the semifinal round by next Wednesday there could be a need to play as many as 8 games in one day.

Angie Hembree has led the Norcross girls to 3 state titles in the past 4 years but is not a big fan of playing twice in a day. "We are very much dealing with the weather situation that has been proposed but I am very much against it."

Dates for the start of the girls and boys state tournament must now be revised. But Yarbrough and the GHSA are most concerned about the semifinal round that is due to be played at neutral sites around the state February 28- March 1. Savannah State, Columbus State, Georgia College, Ft. Valley, West Georgia and Georgia Tech are this year's semifinal sites. " We are concerned that these venues may not be available after the original dates," says Yarbrough.

The Macon Centreplex will host the state finals March 6-8. Thanks to the winter storm, getting there could be a matter of survival. "This will have an effect on everyone but our goal will not change," says Miller Grove boys coach Sharman White, who has led the Wolverines to 5 straight state championships." It just has to take a detour of sorts.Staying focused & staying 'On Ready' is the key


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