March 13, 2020
High school winter sports playoffs came to an abrupt end this week before the Champlain Valley Union girls basketball team was able to finish out its run for the state title.
In the past several days, the Vermont Principals Association scrambled to adjust its guidance regarding holding the final playoff games amidst concerns for large gatherings that could affect the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Initially, the VPA considered holding the remaining semifinal and final games without fans in the bleachers. But by late Thursday, the organizers issued a decision to simply end the remaining playoff schedules.
That left girls basketball in the lurch with Division 1 and Division 3 still needing to play semifinal rounds. Division 2 and 4 were poised for their final games this weekend.
D-I top-ranked CVU (20-0-0) was to play No. 5 Rutland (13-7-0) on Thursday in a semifinal round at UVM’s Patrick Gym.
The winner would have played the victor in the other semifinal matchup between No. 2 Essex (17-3-0) and No. 3 Mt. Mansfield Union (15-5-0).
From the VPA announcement: “It is with sincere regret that we announce the cancelation of the remainder of the winter sports season, specifically the remaining girls’ basketball tournament games in all four divisions. We recognize the disappointment that this unprecedented experience is for our hard-working student-athletes, their coaches, and their fans.
“Basketball is a sport that brings athletes into extremely close proximity to one another, and given the guidance from health officials at both the state and national levels, it is necessary to make this difficult decision to ensure that we do not inadvertently contribute to the spread of COVID-19 in Vermont. Although the passion for athletics is strong and the desire to compete is there, we remember that this is an extracurricular activity and priority to public health supersedes that desire to complete the season.
“These Vermont student-athletes will join the UVM athletes, hundreds of world-class NCAA basketball players, and many other tournament high school athletes around the country in having this never before seen strange end to the 2020 season.
The VPA said it would issue refunds to those who purchased tickets for the semifinal and final games both online and at schools.
The girls hockey championship was decided Monday at UVM when third-seeded D-II Cougarhawks (11-11) made it to the final round against No. 1 Spaulding (22-0). Spaulding shut out the Cougarhawks, 4-0, to win the state title.
The Hinesburg Record will recap the season in the March 26 print edition.