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MSHSL cancels the rest of the basketball tournaments

Friday morning’s news from the Minnesota State High School League hit the two remaining boys’ basketball teams left in the area pretty hard.

The MSHSL announced on Friday that the remainder of the seasons for both girls’ and boys’ basketball have been canceled.

The announcement came on Friday morning on the day of the Section 2A boys’ basketball championship game between New Ulm Cathedral and Springfield. On Thursday, it was announced that the game was moved from Minnesota State University, Mankato to New Ulm High School but that changed before 11 a.m. on Friday.

In addition, the girls’ state basketball season came to an end on Friday with state tournament games still to be played in all four classes.

Springfield boys’ basketball coach Lance Larson said he found out about the season being canceled this morning. He said most of the players knew about it before he had a chance to talk to them in person.

“I think they probably caught it on Twitter before I got to them, but we sent out a group text to let everybody know,” he said.

New Ulm Cathedral boys’ basketball coach Alan Woitas was disappointed to see the season end the way it did. The Greyhounds last made it to the state boys’ basketball tournament in 1999 and they had eight seniors on this year’s roster and a 26-3 record. They beat the Tigers in both regular season games this past year.

“Obviously, I think we’re disappointed,” Woitas said. “For the kids, this is something they worked for throughout the course of their athletic careers, the opportunity to reach the state tournament, not to have that opportunity is hard. But at the same time we’re trying to focus on the positives, everything they did accomplish this year, it was a pretty special year. With Springfield [and Minnesota Valley Lutheran], we were co-conference champs, we might as well be co-section champs too.”

He said that his seniors took it hard.

“They’ve been staples to the program, they were disappointed and this is kind of the pinnacle of high school sports, to play in these types of games and those types of atmospheres,” Woitas said. “To not have that opportunity, that’s kind of hard to swallow. To just have your career and your season end without the opportunity to play the game you love and have a passion for, that’s hard for any kid and any coach to break that news to any player. But at the same time, we’re at an unprecedented situation here and they [MSHSL] had to do what’s best.”

The Tigers, who have 10 seniors on the team and Larson said it was especially for them because there’s always the ‘what if’ factor for them. The defending section champs defeated Waterville-Elysian Morristown on Monday at Gustavus Adolphus College in order to advance to their fourth straight section championship game.

“If they would’ve had a chance to play and they would’ve lost, it would’ve sucked, but at least we would’ve known that we got beat,” Larson said. “This way you’re just going to just sit and wonder ‘what if?’

“It’s just a special group, they came every day and were willing to work their tails off,” Larson said. “They were just a tight group and they got along well.”

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