VHSL canceling remaining games in the state basketball tournament

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WHSV) — UPDATE (3:30 p.m.):

Following an updated Virginia High School League (VHSL) decision canceling all weekend games for the high school state basketball tournament, the VHSL has issued yet another updated decision, moving game cancellations even earlier.

Now, the VHSL has cancelled the tournament games scheduled for Thursday night at 6 and 8 p.m., including the Class 1 boys and girls state championships.

The decision came after Virginia Governor Ralph Northam declared a State of Emergency for Virginia and announced 17 presumptive positive cases in the commonwealth.

“We felt with Governor Northam declaring a state of emergency, we felt it would be irresponsible to continue the tournament tonight. It’s in the best public interest to cancel the Class 1 and boys and girls finals," VHSL Executive Director Dr. John W. “Billy” Haun said. "While we understand how disappointing this is for all fans of our teams, we feel this decision is in the best interest of public health, including that of, most importantly, our student-athletes, coaches, administrators, families, and fans.”

The games that were scheduled earlier on Thursday, including Luray's game against Gate City at 12:30 p.m., went on as scheduled.

For all the remaining tournament games, including the Spotswood High School girls, who were scheduled to play in the Class 3 title game on Friday at 6 p.m. against Lord Botetourt, teams will be declared co-champions.

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UPDATE (1:15 p.m.):

After an announcement earlier Thursday that the Virginia High School League (VHSL) would be limiting fans at the state basketball tournament this weekend, they have revised their decision and canceled the games scheduled for Friday and Saturday.

"Due to the rapidly changing landscape regarding COVID-19 and amidst the cancellations of major college basketball tournaments, the VHSL Basketball Tournament games for Friday and Saturday have now been cancelled," VHSL Executive Director Dr. John W. “Billy” Haun announced Thursday afternoon.

The games scheduled for Thursday are still going on as planned, in progress as the announcement for Friday and Saturday was made.

“After continuing to assess the impact of COVID-19 and the recent cancellations throughout the sports world, we felt it was in the public interest to cancel our championship finals for Friday and Saturday," VHSL Executive Director Dr. John W. “Billy” Haun said. "While we understand how disappointing this is for all fans of our teams, we feel this decision is in the best interest of public health, including that of, most importantly, our student-athletes, coaches, administrators, families, and fans.”

All the teams scheduled to play on Friday and Saturday, including teams in Class 3, 4, 5, and 6, will be declared co-champions.

That includes the Spotswood High School girls, who were scheduled to play in the Class 3 title game on Friday at 6 p.m. against Lord Botetourt.

Luray's game against Gate City is underway.

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ORIGINAL STORY (9:30 a.m.):

As national sports sees major impacts from the novel coronavirus, sports on the Virginia level are seeing changes as well.

On Wednesday, the NCAA announced that they would limit fans in the stands for March Madness to essential staff and family members of players. The NBA went farther, suspending its season.

On Thursday morning, the Virginia High School League (VHSL) announced that they would be following similar guidelines to what the NCAA established.

The games scheduled for Friday and Saturday as part of the VHSL Basketball Tournament will be played as scheduled, but only with direct family members in the stands from both stands.

That's to cut down on potential COVID-19 exposure in large crowds.

The VHSL said Thursday's tournament schedule will go on as planned, and the changes will take effect Friday.

Each school will submit a list of immediate family members to the VHSL and only people from those lists will be allowed to enter the Siegel Center.

“The VHSL continues to assess the impact of COVID-19 and has had continued discussions with public health officials and key stakeholders," VHSL Executive Director Dr. John W. “Billy” Haun said. "Based on that advice we have made the decision to conduct Friday and Saturday games to only allow immediate family attendance, with only essential tournament staff and credentialed media present."

“While we understand how disappointing this is for all fans of our teams, our decision is based on discussion we have had on how COVID-19 is progressing in the Commonwealth. We feel this decision is in the best interest of public health, including that of, most importantly, our student-athletes, coaches, administrators, families, and fans.”

The VHSL also announced that it's canceling its March Group Membership meeting on Friday held in Richmond.

In our area, the Spotswood High School girls will be playing in the Class 3 title game on Friday at 6 p.m. against Lord Botetourt. Now, only direct family members will be allowed to attend.

Credentialed media are still allowed to enter, so WHSV will have coverage of the game for those unable to attend under the new guidelines.

Luray is headed to the tournament on Thursday to meet Gate City in the Girls Class 2 Final at 12:30 p.m. The school is closed for the day to allow students and everyone who wishes to attend to travel to the game. As the new VHSL guidelines don't take effect until Friday, everything connected to Luray's game will go on as planned.