By TOM HESSE
Sentinel Staff Writer
The Region V Girls and Boys Basketball Championship Tournament, hosted at Mt. Edgecumbe High School this year, has been rescheduled to March 5-9.
The change moves the tournament a full week back from its original start date, Feb. 26, Mt. Edgecumbe Activities Director Andrew Friske said.
The original catalyst for the change was a scheduling conflict for the state basketball tournament in Anchorage. The Sullivan Arena, where the state basketball tournament will be held, had a conflict between the tournament and an Alaska Aces hockey game, Friske said. Because of this, the Alaska Schools Activities Association (ASAA) moved the state championship back a week.
Sitka Activities Director Mike Vieira said this set off a number of changes for each division of basketball in the state.
“Pretty much everyone had to start moving things around after ASAA made the shift,” Vieira said.
Many of the regions shifted their regional tournaments a week later after the state championship was moved. This allowed for teams to play two extra games in their regular season, and because those two extra games could affect region standings, other schools followed suit, Vieira said.
Mt. Edgecumbe High School’s condensed academic schedule made it a challenge to move the dates for the Southeast tournament.
“It made a big difference,” Friske said. “For instance, we have five days of Saturday school scheduled and one of those was scheduled for the weekend that will now host the state tournament.”
Mt. Edgecumbe was also expecting a visit from the State School Board during the week that they will now be hosting the regional tournament.
“I think they wanted to see a normal week at Mt. Edgecumbe High School and, of course, the Regional Championship is anything but normal,” Friske said.
Friske said the move was discussed at a conference of Southeast Region V activities directors earlier this fall, and the majority favored the switch.
“The biggest challenge in there was re-coordinating the Alaska Marine Highway system,” Vieira said. “They always coordinate their schedule with the tournament, so one of the things we were waiting on before we made the change was that we could still get ferry service.”
“A lot of it hinged on whether or not Mt. Edgecumbe could accommodate the change, and once we were able to move things around and make sure the ferry schedule would work we went ahead and rescheduled things,” Friske said.
A challenge for Sitka was aligning the tournament with the scheduled in-service days, something the district usually does to lessen the number of days the players miss classes.
“Luckily there were more in-service days the following week (March 5-9) so we were able to make that work,” Vieira said.
March 7 and 8 are slotted for parent teacher conferences.
Vieira said the activities directors for the region wanted to announce the change as early as possible so fans and parents can make plans in advance.
“We wanted to be as proactive as we can. Stuff fills up fast and a lot of people make plans for this so we wanted to make sure people could still do that,” Vieira said.