IHSA says Class 1A/2A state basketball tournament will go on as planned this weekend

IHSA Director Craig Anderson spoke with representatives of the Peoria city and county health department on Wednesday afternoon.

SHARE IHSA says Class 1A/2A state basketball tournament will go on as planned this weekend
Orr’s holds up the 2A state championship trophy in 2019.

Orr’s holds up the 2A state championship trophy in 2019.

Worsom Robinson/For the Sun-Times

Craig Anderson, the Illinois High School Association Executive Director, says that the Class 1A and Class 2A state basketball tournament will go on as planned this weekend at Carver Arena in Peoria.

The teams will begin arriving in Peoria on Thursday. Anderson spoke with representatives of the Peoria city and county health department on Wednesday afternoon.

“They have confirmed that we are planning to go on as scheduled with our Class 1A/2A tournament,” Anderson said. “Tomorrow our teams will arrive in Peoria and practice. Tomorrow night we will have our banquet and proceed with games on Friday and Saturday.”

Anderson said the Peoria officials are still waiting to get a recommendation from the Illinois Department of Health.

“We are still waiting on that,” Anderson said. “That’s the only thing that could hold us up.”

The IHSA is planning to adhere to the recommendations of the local health departments. Anderson said that none of the eight schools advancing to the state finals have expressed any concerns about participating in the event.

The state athletic associations in Ohio and Nebraska have scaled back the crowds at their state finals events this weekend. Ohio is only allowing four immediate family members of each player and two family members of each coach to attend the games.

“We will lean on the recommendation of the health department,” Anderson said. “If they say we need to scale it back we would work together with them to come up with what seems like a reasonable minimizing of the mass gathering that might have formed.”

Anderson said the IHSA plans to “put out some hand sanitizer and anti-bacterial wipes in a lot of locations. We will have signage directing and recommending people wash their hands and do those kind of things.”

Aurora Christian, Orr, Timothy Christian, Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin, Breese Mater Dei, Madison, Goreville and Roanoke-Benson are the eight schools participating in the state finals this weekend.

The larger Class 3A and Class 4A schools play sectional games on Wednesday and Friday. The IHSA has supersectional games scheduled at college venues all around the state on Tuesday.

“Right now we haven’t had any outreach from any of our [supersectional] hosts to say they aren’t going to welcome our schools or our fans,” Anderson said. “I say that now. But in a half hour or tomorrow that could all change. This is so fluid.”

There were large crowds at all of Tuesday’s state playoff games. Anderson attended a doubleheader at Robert Morris in Arlington Heights.

“I saw no signs of any concerns,” Anderson said. “And if there was going to be a concern I thought that is where it might be because Loyola [Academy] has been out of school a couple of days due to the virus.”

The IHSA made $994,000 from the state basketball finals in 2019. It is the organization’s most profitable event by far, accounting for about half of the its yearly revenue. The state football tournament is second at $618,000.

“We really don’t want to cancel [the tournament],” Anderson said. “But we will work within the parameters of the local and state health departments.”

Orr will attempt to win a fourth consecutive state title this weekend in Peoria.

“I’m not worried about [the coronavirus] at all,” Orr coach Lou Adams said. “I’m worried about winning another state championship.”

Adams said that he hasn’t received any instructions from Chicago Public Schools in regards to his team’s travel and four days in Peoria.

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