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Basketball championship back on after AIA cancels games in Prescott Valley for backlash over weather

Posted at 7:44 AM, Feb 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-23 19:29:26-05

PRESCOTT VALLEY, AZ — On again, off again, and now, on again.

The Arizona Interscholastic Association has announced that the boys and girls 1A and 2A high school basketball state championship tournament games will now take place on a modified schedule.

The announcement came just hours after the AIA had announced early Friday morning it would be canceling the games following backlash from parents and schools over whether the games, scheduled for this weekend in Prescott Valley, should take place amid record-setting weather conditions.

While most games will still be taking place in Prescott Valley, Thatcher and Scottsdale Christian are taking the court at 3 p.m. Friday in the Valley to better accommodate the teams.

The Friday confusion came after outrage from parents and even school representatives who reached out to ABC15 concerned about safety, as teams made the drive from all over the state to Prescott Valley, where more than 17 inches of snow has fallen in the last 48 hours.

Despite worries over traveling through the snow, the AIA says on Wednesday, the 16 schools in the tournament could not come to consensus on how to reschedule, so the decision was made to move forward with plans in Prescott Valley.

“We talked about pushing it back to next week, we talked about pushing it back from Saturday to Monday, we talked about canceling it, or trying to have another alternative, and [the 16 schools] said ‘We want to play,’” AIA executive director David Hines said in an interview in his office Friday. “Not every school agreed with that for a specific [choice], but they agreed we’re going to try to make every effort to get to [Prescott Valley].”

The AIA had told teams Thursday that if they did not make it to games that were scheduled for Friday and Saturday, they could be forced to forfeit. The association then canceled the games Friday morning, saying it was unsafe to travel to the arena, and urged teams to "remain in place" until conditions improved.

Hours later, after a conference call with the schools, the decision was made to go ahead, but times, and in some cases locations, had to be changed.

Once again, on Saturday, the AIA had to change game locations because of logistical reasons. They say too many fans were expected to show up for the boys and girls 2A championship games to have them played at Highland High School as originally planned. Instead, the boys 3A championship game will be played at Highland, and the 2A boys and girls games will be played at Gila River Arena.

See the full list below (updated 2/23/19 10 a.m.)

Saturday, Feb. 23
Findlay Toyota Center
1A girls semifinal: Mogollon vs. Rock Point - 9 a.m.
1A girls semifinal: Red Mesa vs. Baboquivari - 10:30 a.m.
1A boys semifinal: Mogollon vs. Ray - 12 p.m.
1A boys semifinal: Fort Thomas vs. The Gregory School - 1:30 p.m.
1A girls championship - 4 p.m.
1A boys championship - 6 p.m.

Gil River Arena
1 p.m.: 3A girls championship
3 p.m.: 2A girls championship
5 p.m.: 2A boys championship
7 p.m.: 4A girls championship
9 p.m.: 4A boys championship

Highland High School
3A boys championship - 4 p.m. Pusch Ridge and Valley Christian (Originally scheduled for Gila River Arena)