Basketball tournament plans pivot

Single elimination 12-C district tournament begins Feb. 16

Plans are fluid as local teams look forward to tournament time. Initially, all tournaments were set to be held in Butte at the Maroon Activity Center, but that plan was scratched in early January due to Covid concerns.

Just a few days ago, the plan was to have a double-elimination district tournament in Twin Bridges and Sheridan for boys and girls, respectively.

That plan pivoted during a district athletic director meeting in Manhattan on Feb. 8. The meeting was held to discuss track season scheduling, but a long basketball discussion took place, with a vote deciding that district play-off games will be done single-elimination style.

“It had to do with contact tracing and quarantining,” said Sheridan Athletic Director Ed Burke, who had initially worked to garner the Madison County Public Health Department’s approval bring the tournaments to Madison County. “There were people a little fearful of the whole thing, and felt that they could keep their team safer if theirs, and just one other team, played at one location.”

On Tuesday, Feb. 16 district play in games between the bottom six teams in the boys’ group and bottom four in girls’ group will take place, to be hosted by the highest seed.

The losers of the games on the 16th will be done for the season; the winners will play again on Thursday, Feb. 18. Winners move ahead to Friday the 19th, the only games where losers could advance.

Next, the top four boys’ teams and top four girls’ teams will advance to the double-elimination divisional tournament to be held in Deer Lodge beginning Wednesday, Feb. 24 through Saturday the 27th. The usual threeday tournament will span four days this year to spread games out. Burke noted that of course, this plan could change.

The location of the state tournament, originally scheduled for Montana State University, is still undecided, said Burke, but the Montana High School Association is currently working on a plan.

Looking at the standings as of Feb. 8, Burke said that teams including the Ennis girls and both Twin Bridges teams will not have to play on February 16, but both Sheridan teams will compete in the initial elimination games.

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