The WIAA is at least “recommending” and possibly “forcing” the district, bi-district and tri-district tournaments to be done by Monday, Feb. 18, according to several newspaper reports, which could affect the playoff schedules of Whatcom County teams.
The WIAA, which governs the state’s athletic programs, needs to have state qualifying teams determined by Monday so that arrangements can be finalized for the regional games on Feb. 22 and 23.
Almost all the tournaments were originally scheduled to end by Friday or Saturday. But that was before the recent snow storms made a mess of the playoff schedules.
The 1A boys and girls, Lummi Nation girls and Ferndale girls are still playing on Wednesday, but other games are postponed to Thursday. Check out www.whatcomhoops.com for the latest changes in the tournament schedules.
The Monday deadline means that tournaments that were originally scheduled to stretch for a full week or even two weeks are now forced to squeeze games into four days or less.
Among the serious choices being discussed by school officials are:
* Playing games on Sunday, which has been discouraged by the WIAA in the past.
* Canceling games. The 1A District 1 tournaments already eliminated an early round, and the 2A District 1/2 tournaments are already planning to do that with their final rounds.
* Playing two games in one day. This drastic measure was occasionally done in the early years of the state tournaments, but probably not in the last 70 years or so.
* And, if worse comes to worse and full tournaments can’t be completed in time, taking higher seeded teams or teams with higher RPI ratings, which the state uses to rank teams for the state tournament.
All of which is why local teams are hoping to the weather lets up enough to get all the games in by Monday. Stay tuned.
Jim Carberry is a former Bellingham Herald sports editor and author of several books on Whatcom County prep basketball. Follow him on Twitter @whatcomhoops and visit the Whatcom Hoops Facebook page.