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High School Sports

Alaska high school basketball gets a late tipoff, and for small schools that means March Madness in April

  • Author: Beth Bragg
  • Updated: November 11
  • Published November 10

Get ready for an April edition of March Madness, Alaska.

The Alaska School Activities Association approved a schedule for the 2020-21 winter sports season that allows basketball teams to begin practice Jan. 11, about a month later than usual.

The late-starting season means a late finish — for the Alaska’s Class 1A and Class 2A teams, that means the state championships won’t happen until the first week of April.

Seasons for some but not all winter activities were decided Monday at an ASAA board meeting. Still undecided are dates for the wrestling season, which will be considered at the next board meeting in December. And, there could be changes coming to the hockey season, currently set to start Jan. 4 with practice.

Things have been on hold because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which shortened fall sports seasons and eliminated state championship events for all fall sports except cross country and tennis.

The biggest news coming from Monday’s ASAA meeting are the dates set for basketball. Teams at all divisions can begin practice Jan. 11 and can begin competition Jan. 22 — about a month later than usual.

For Class 4A and 3A teams, state tournaments are scheduled to be played March 24-27.

For Class 2A and 1A teams, state tournaments are scheduled to be played April 1-3, with Class 1A teams competing in play-in games March 31 to see who goes into the 16-team tournament’s championships bracket and who falls into the consolation bracket.

Locations for the state tournaments have yet to be determined. State basketball is typically held at the Alaska Airlines Center, which is currently an alternate care site for COVID-19 patients, although so far it hasn’t been needed.

Here are the various dates set Monday by ASAA:

Basketball

Practice starts Jan. 11, competition begins Jan 22 for all divisions. State championships March 24-27 for Class 4A and 3A; March 31-April 1-3 for Class 2A and 1A. Location to be determined.

Cross-country skiing

Practice starts Nov. 16, competition begins Nov. 27. State championships Feb. 25-27 at Kincaid Park.

Bowling

Practice starts Jan. 11, competition begins Jan. 22. No state championships.

Hockey (tentative)

Practice starts Jan. 4, competition begins Jan. 15. State championships Feb. 18-20 for Division II; Feb. 25-27 for Division I. Location to be determined.

Mix Six volleyball

Practice starts March 22, competition begins April 2. State championships May 6-8. Location to be determined.

Esports spring season

Practice starts Feb. 1, competition begins Feb. 12. State championships April 24 and May 1, online.

Track and field

Practice starts March 22, competition begins April 2. State championships May 28-29 at Dimond High.

Soccer

Practice starts March 22, competition begins April 2. State championships May 27-29 at Service, West and Eagle River high schools.

Coed soccer

Practice starts March 22, competition begins April 2. No state championships.

Baseball

Practice starts March 22, competition begins April 2. State championships June 3-5 (Division I at Mulcahy Stadium; Division II at Hermon Brothers Field)

Softball

Practice starts March 22, competition begins April 2. State championships June 3-5, Cartee Field.

Academic/fine arts

Drama, debate and forensics — Feb. 25-27 state championships, online

Student government spring conference — April 15-17, West Valley High School

Solo and ensemble music festival — May 7-8 in Anchorage.

World language and all-state art competition — to be determined.

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