HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL
HHSAA adjusts dates for girls state hoops
The silver lining is fading away for high school basketball fans.
The Hawaii High School Athletic Association announced yesterday during an executive board meeting that a shortage of available facilities has caused a change in scheduling for the girls basketball state tournament.
Originally, the girls state tourney was to be played Feb. 12-15. Now the tourney will be played Feb. 19-23, overlapping with the boys state basketball tournament. Fans who wanted to see both tournaments will have to pick between them.
The only solace left for hoop fans is that the girls tourney will begin on a Tuesday (Feb. 19) and end on a Friday (Feb. 22). The boys tourney starts one day after the girls tip off, and will conclude with the title game on Saturday, Feb. 23.
The problem is a new one for the HHSAA, which switched the girls basketball season from the spring to the winter this year rather than face costly litigation by Title IX supporters.
It doesn't end there. High school gyms will be involved, which isn't new. However, access to bigger facilities for the final two rounds is still a puzzle.
"We don't have any appropriate sites," HHSAA executive director Keith Amemiya said. "For the semifinals and finals, we need a Blaisdell Arena or Stan Sheriff Center, or even a Cannon Activities Center. Unfortunately, February is the busiest month."
Blaisdell is booked in early February. "This is going to be a challenge to pull this off," Amemiya said. "The HHSAA is in a similar position to the leagues and schools."
Administrators, coaches and players across the state are now adjusting practice schedules, and in many cases will have shorter preparation time with four teams -- girls varsity and junior varsity, boys varsity and junior varsity -- competing for limited gym time.
The state tourney problem isn't limited to basketball. The state softball tourney will also be pushed back. Originally set for April 30 to May 3, the event will be played instead May 14 to 17. This was the only way the tournament could be held at Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium.
In years past, when softball was played in the winter, the UH facility was more readily available for the high school championships. Now, Amemiya dreads the inevitable.
"There may be a year when the (softball) stadium is not available, or even Murakami Stadium," he said, referring to baseball. "We're lucky this year we were able to do so. We're directly competing (with UH) for gym and field space. That's the reality and we have to deal with it."