A bad situation — which has continued to worsen with the worldwide COVID-19 outbreak having been declared a pandemic — fully reached the Ohio high school sports platform when the boys and girls state basketball tourneys were indefinitely postponed on Thursday.
“I’m disappointed for the student-athletes, especially the seniors of local teams — the Anna, Fort Loramie and Minster girls, plus Jackson Center boys — who were scheduled to play Thursday and Friday,” said Jack Kramer of ScoresBroadcast.com.
“These athletes and coaches are competitors. The players had poured their hearts and souls into basketball. It’s devastating to not be able to compete for the state title when you are so close,” he said further.
“But everyone’s health and safety are bigger than sports,” Kramer added. “Needless to say, the seniors won’t have this opportunity again.”
The girls teams at Fort Loramie and Minster, situated only a few miles apart, were on a collision course to meet today for the state championship in girls Division IV. Each was favored to win state semifinal tilts on Thursday.
The unbeaten Redskins were ranked first in the regular season’s final AP poll; Minster was eighth. Fort Loramie, 26-0, thumped Minster, 22-5, in the Redskins season opener. Minster had since dropped only four games by a scant three points per defeat.
“Unfortunately, it is a season without closure,” stated Kramer.
The Jackson Center boys reached the elite eight in Div. IV. The Tigers finished strong during a ten-point win in Tuesday’s regional semifinal. Jackson Center was only a victory away from a Final Four berth when the state tourney was halted.
Meanwhile, Anna and Fort Loramie boys squads forged double-digit leads in the second quarter of their regional semifinal contests, but were overcome down the stretch in the final period of play.
ScoresBroadcast coverage of the recent Jackson Center, Fort Loramie and Anna boys games at the UD Arena produced over 3,000 listeners for each contest. SCORES, the Shelby County Online Radio Entertainment System, was the only medium present for live play-by-play streams of these contests.
The Anna-Dayton Stivers webcast generated more than a record-breaking total of 2300 concurrent IP addresses at one point in the final five minutes of the game. This count grew and grew throughout the night. Never before in its 15-year history had SCORES topped the 2200-mark for single game listenership.
Paid attendance at the UD Arena was limited to several hundred spectators on Wednesday.
The 2019-20 basketball season generated, by far, the most listeners to SCORES since its inception in 2006-2007. And since 2013, the 2019-2020 high school sports season represents the most webcasts offered by SCORES.
“Jack and I had planned a busy Friday, covering the Anna Girls D-III state semifinal at St. John Arena before high-tailing it to the Jackson Center Boys D-IV regional final at the UD Arena,” noted Chuck McBee, who, alongside Jack, handles SCORES color commentary and on-site engineering.
“With tipoff times at 3 and 7 PM, we could have pulled it off,” McBee said. “We had a plan. I was going to fill Jack’s ears full of team and player stats, while he kept his eyes on the road.”
He added, “We’re heartbroken for the fans and especially the players, who no longer have a chance to compete for a state or regional title, something that they earned a right to compete for.”