Now it’s about to catch up — especially for the basketball teams that make it into the state tournament.
Because most region basketball tournaments will continue into next week, after originally being scheduled to be completed this weekend, the Georgia High School Association made slight alterations to the state tournament schedule.
There won’t be much time for preparation or recuperation for the teams that advance from their regions.
First-round games will now take place next Friday and Saturday, with second-round games Feb. 24-25.
From there, there won’t be much rest for the weary.
The quarterfinals will follow Feb. 26-27, giving teams just one day to prepare. The semifinal games for both genders will come March 1 — as originally scheduled — with the Class AAAAAA games taking place at Georgia Tech.
“It makes sense to push it back. They’ve got to do it that way,” said McEachern girls coach Phyllis Arthur, whose team has already qualified for the Class AAAAAA state playoffs as the No. 1 seed of Region 4AAAAAA. “We’ve almost gone a whole week without practicing and hope everyone is in the same boat.”
With most of the region tournaments just getting started, most coaches are focused strictly on just getting to the state playoffs. But some have thought ahead about the mental and physical preparation it would take for a team to make a deep playoff run.
“We don’t want to overlook getting there, but assuming that we do, we’ve been doing our homework already on teams we can match up with,” Allatoona boys coach Markus Hood said. “You’ve really got to be up on your homework and up on the different style of basketball you can face.”
The Buccaneers, who went undefeated in Region 5AAAAA play, have experience in playing games a day apart, particularly with their annual Lake City Classic during the winter holiday.
Some raised the concern of the injury factor with teams required to play a slew of games in a short stretch. But with many local teams forced to play as many as five games in one week because of the snow and ice that froze Cobb County two weeks ago, they’ve already gotten used to this kind of schedule.
“I think we’re prepared for it because we had just went through it, having played eight games in two weeks,” said Pebblebrook boys coach George Washington, whose team has clinched a state playoff berth at Region 4AAAAAA’s top boys seed. “I’m just worried about the kids’ health. They’ve been in the ice tub the last three weeks. They hate it, but they don’t have a lot of option.”
The county’s top wrestlers already knew that they would get an extra week to prepare for the postponed traditional state championships, and now they know where they will be competing.
With the Arena at Gwinnett Center unable to host the rescheduled state championships because of a conflict with the Gwinnett Gladiators hockey team, hosting duties have been divvied up for each classification.
Chattahoochee will host the Class AAAAAA tournament next Friday and Saturday, with Loganville hosting the Class AAAAA event. The Class A tournament will be at Commerce next Saturday.
“Even though we know where the tournament is going to be, we weren’t able to get anything taken care of because no one was at the school when we found out,” said Marietta coach Tommy Carthers, who will have eight wrestlers competing for state titles. “We’re going to have to do some scrambling next week to get checks cut and take care of the logistics.”