Pandemic Officially Ends Spring Sports and Kentucky Sweet 16
Since early March, the Covid-19 infection has wreaked havoc with schools and sporting events, among other things. High school basketball postseason action was no exception. First, IHSAA ended its boys' high school basketball tournament just before the March 14 regionals were to be played. Nearly 6 weeks after, with the pandemic worsening and social distancing becoming the new normal, any hopes of resumption in Kentucky's Sweet 16 went out the window.
In a statement released April 21, KHSAA Commissioner Julian Tackett called his organization's decision to cancel the remainder of the 2020 Sweet 16 basketball tournament, along with spring sports, "...without question the most challenging period I have seen or faced in thirty-six years in this office...but in the end, is in the best interest of public health." Among the sectional champs from Indiana that have seen their progress toward state honors halted by the pandemic were two from just north of Louisville -- 2019 Indiana 3A Champs, Silver Creek and 4A-Section 15 winners, Floyd Central. In Kentucky, the Anderson Co. Lady Bearcats, who were 8th Region girls' champs and one of the top teams left in the Sweet 16, progressed no further than the quarterfinals. Additionally, the 16 regional winners in the Kentucky boys' tournament, including 6th Region champs Fern Creek and 7th Region winners Male, were also denied opportunities to play at Rupp Arena.
While many talented players from these teams will return next season, the duo of Floyd’s Grant Gohmann and Male’s top scorer, Tyren Moore will not. Both are in the 2020 class and expect to play collegiately next season. As of this writing, Moore has signed with Moberly Community College in Missouri.
Tackett's statement equated the players, especially seniors, being denied these championship opportunities "as though they were robbed by an invisible enemy. It is sometimes a little easier in life when there is someone to blame. With this, however, there isn’t. We are all together fighting the same enemy with the same desired outcome."
As we look forward to next season, we, along with you, hope that medical science will devise a breakthrough and lead a return to ‘normalization.' In the meantime, the matter will be whether schools, and sports, can reopen on schedule in August with experts predicting a potentially aggressive relapse in the winter.