While Jared Harrington still feels the Logan Elm boys basketball team has “unfinished business”, the senior forward will cherish the memories of a special tournament run to the Sweet 16 that was officially halted for good on Thursday when the Ohio High School Athletic Association canceled the remaining winter sports tournaments due to the coronavirus.
“The tournament run was something special for the team,” Harrington said. “It showed how our hard work in the summer, early morning practices, and us doing the little things right paid off.”
Logan Elm entered the tournament seeded seventh out of 18 schools in the Division II Southeast District field and wheeled off four-straight victories, including dispatching second-seeded Jackson 57-38 in win its first sectional title since 2017.
The run culminated with a 51-45 win in the district championship game over Warren. It was the first district championship for the Braves since 2014, the fifth under the tenure of long-time coach Doug Stiverson and the seventh in program history.
“The memories I’ll have from the tournament are Coach Stiverson dancing with us, cutting down the nets and just playing at the Convo,” Harrington said.
Logan Elm was scheduled to play Meadowbrook in a regional semifinal on March 12, but the game was postponed early that afternoon due to the spread of the coronavirus.
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine then ordered the closing of schools across the state for three weeks for what he termed as “an extended spring break”.
“That’ll be unfinished business,” Harrington said. “We had confidence going into the Meadowbrook game. We had been playing very well and we felt that we had a good chance to win and advance.”
The announcement also affects five Pickaway County wrestlers who qualified for the state individual tournament — Westfall’s Chanston Moll and Josey Kelly, Teays Valley’s Zander Graham and Gunner Havens and Logan Elm’s Cole Renier.
“You fight through the whole season, you qualify for state and then it’s taken away from you, it’s tough,” Moll said in an interview for the Pharr Award, which will run on Saturday in the Circleville Herald. “(Westfall coach William Breyer) has talked about keeping a good attitude and that you can’t control some things in life. Stuff happens sometimes.
“Hopefully they can get this under control and save lives, because that’s the important thing.”
The OHSAA stated in a press release that no state champions will be listed for girls basketball, boys basketball, individual wrestling and ice hockey in 2020. The OHSAA does not use state polls from the media or coaches associations to determine state champions.
In the announcement canceling the remaining winter sports tournaments, the OHSAA said it is anticipated that schools will not be able to reopen for many weeks, which prevents interscholastic athletics from taking place.
“We are just devastated that the tournaments cannot be completed,” OHSAA Executive Director Jerry Snodgrass said in the release. “But our priority is the safety of our student-athletes, coaches, communities and officials. Governor Mike DeWine is asking all Ohioans to do everything they can to stop the spread of this virus. That request, along with our schools not being able to reopen for weeks, means that school sports cannot happen at this time. Even if our schools reopen this spring, it will be difficult to find facilities willing to host the tournaments. Most campus are shut down until mid-to-late summer.
“We are already planning for ways that these student-athletes will be honored at next year’s state tournament,” Snodgrass added.
These four winter state tournaments and a few events during World War II (1941-45) are the only sports cancellations in the history of the OHSAA, which was founded in 1907.
The 672 student-athletes who qualified for the wrestling state tournament will all receive a program, certificate and their weigh-in card from the OHSAA.
Also, the OHSAA stated that spring sports continue to be postponed and the no-contact order for all OHSAA sports remains in effect.
OHSAA coaches can communicate electronically with their student-athletes, but no practices, scrimmages or contests of any kind are permitted until further notice.