Boys Basketball: Snow day puts a wrinkle in playoffs
By Pat Disabato firstname.lastname@example.org March 5, 2013 9:48PM
Marian Catholic's Kevin Phillips (left) and Joliet West's Morris Dunnigan. | File photo
CLASS 2A JOLIET CENTRAL SUPERSECTIONAL
Seton vs. Providence-St. Mel, 7:30 p.m.
CLASS 3A RICH SOUTH
Rich East vs. Coal City, 7:30 p.m.
CLASS 3A ST. LAURENCE
Morgan Park vs. Fenger,
CLASS 4A THORNTON
Marian Catholic vs. Joliet West, 7:30 p.m.
CLASS 3A RICH SOUTH
Providence vs. Hillcrest, 7:30 p.m.
CLASS 4A THORNTON
Bloom vs. Stagg, 7:30 p.m.
Updated: April 7, 2013 6:27AM
Just the mere thought of a “snow day” and the accompanying day off from school generally puts a smile on a kid’s face.
Well, not every kid.
“The one time all year our players were happy and prepared to come to school on time was (Tuesday),” Joliet West coach Luke Yaklich said. “They were excited.”
Mother Nature’s ill-timed snowstorm Tuesday not only shut down schools, it forced the postponement of much-anticipated local sectional semifinals at St. Laurence (Class 3A), Rich South (3A) and Thornton (4A), as well as the 2A supersectional at Joliet Central.
“We would have preferred to have played the game (Tuesday), but it’s better to be safe than sorry,” St. Laurence athletic director Tim Chandler said. “You don’t want to be the person in the situation to put other people in jeopardy. You also have officials coming from all over. People are quick to sue nowadays. It’s all about safety.”
The cancellations, however, produced a ripple effect on scheduling that put some teams at a disadvantage. Winners of Thursday sectional semis, originally scheduled for Wednesday, now must play for a title without a day to prepare.
“I’d say it’s a bigger disadvantage for the teams playing Thursday,” Rich East coach George Leonard said. “They don’t get to practice in between games.”
The games scheduled for Tuesday — Morgan Park (28-3) vs. Fenger (16-8) at St. Laurence, Rich East (19-6) vs. Coal City (19-12) at Rich South, Joliet West (19-7) vs. Marian Catholic (27-3) at Thornton and Seton (21-10) vs. Providence-St. Mel (25-5) at Joliet Central — will be played Wednesday.
The winners of those games get to practice Thursday in preparation for Friday’s championships.
The games originally scheduled for Wednesday — Hillcrest (22-6) vs. Providence (15-13) at Rich South, Stagg (20-8) vs. Bloom (25-3) at Thornton — will be played Thursday.
“You lose time to prepare playing Thursday,” Stagg coach John Daniels said. “That’s what happened to us last week at Sandburg. Our game against Andrew, because of snow Tuesday, was moved from Wednesday to Thursday and then we had to turn around and play Sandburg Friday. It wasn’t ideal but it worked out for us.
“We’re a team that relies on preparation. We have to be able to anticipate where teams are going to be to make up for some of our lack of speed. Years ago, it would take a natural disaster to shut down a school. Times have changed.”
Some coaches would consider having another day to prepare for Marian Catholic point guard Tyler Ulis, even if it’s just mental preparation, a good thing.
Not Yaklich, whose team plays the Spartans on Wednesday.
“Our preparation, in reality, is done,” Yaklich said. “You always would like another day of practice to tweak things. We won’t be able to practice (Tuesday) because school is closed. We were ready to go Tuesday. Our preparation is in.”
Leonard, however, believes an extra day could benefit the Rockets’ opponent, Coal City.
“Another day to prepare for the way we play might be an advantage,” said Leonard, whose Rockets favor an uptempo style. “I’m not sure. I know my kids are disappointed. They wanted to play. But you have to put the fans and players safety first. It’s not my call. I call plays on the sidelines.”