Why are local basketball teams canceling final regular season games? Answer: To make sure they’re eligible for the playoffs

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CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – The high school basketball regular season is nearing an end. For some, the end is already here.

Teams have begun preemptively canceling most, or all, of their remaining games in order to protect themselves from the COVID-19 virus, and to protect their chances at playing in the postseason.

“They feel like they can control what happens in practice. I think all of the things you should be doing to minimize risk, this is one of them,” said WVSSAC Executive Director, Bernie Dolan in an interview with 12 Sports on Monday.

Girls basketball teams’ postseasons can begin as early as Saturday, April 10, with the sectional round of the playoffs. Boys basketball teams will begin postseason play the following Saturday, on April 17.

That means girls hoops teams are well within a ten-day window that it normally takes for a team to come out of quarantine if they’ve been in contact with another team that had a player who was COVID-19 positive, or potentially positive.

It means both girls and boys teams are within the minimal fourteen-day window that it normally takes for a team to go through the quarantine cycle if it has a player who has tested positive for the virus.

Those windows, even with the possibility of slightly delaying the start of a sectional or regional round (which would have to be agreed on by all schools within that section or region, depending on the round, and the WVSSAC), are closing fast.

“I also think that making sure that your kids wear their masks when they’re not practicing, and when they’re in school they’re doing the right thing,” added Dolan.

This isn’t just happening in basketball, either.

Teams in other winter sports, such as swimming and wrestling, played reduced schedules to minimize the risk when it comes to the virus. Late-season tournaments have recently been squashed so all teams have the best chance at being ready for postseason play.

For high school wrestlers, the postseason begins this weekend. The same is true for high school swimmers.

The high school basketball postseason is longer, and has more contests. More contests increases the odds of playing against a team that is unknowingly infected.

So, the regular season for some basketball teams may be coming to a close sooner than originally scheduled.

But it’s to ensure there’s a postseason — a possible lesson learned from what happened during the fall.

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