Ned Sparks, the MPSSAA’s executive director, said the organization realized the scheduling issue shortly after last season’s tournament and began discussing its options for where to hold the tournament and what schedule to follow. The revised dates were approved during a meeting of the MPSSAA’s Board of Control last April.
Sparks said the combination of the history associated with playing at the campus and the logistics involved with finding a centralized venue capable of handling the crowds for four state finals in a single day made it an easy choice to keep the event at Maryland.
Host B.J. Koubaroulis runs through the top plays from high school basketball games in D.C., Maryland and Virginia.
“It’s such a great venue and a great goal for every team in the state to have a chance to play there,” said Magruder Coach Dan Harwood, a member of the state’s boys’ basketball tournament committee. “It’s a special part of the history of the tournament. The kids see it on T.V. during the year and know they can make it there.”
The revised timeline for the tournament actually makes the pacing of the playoff schedule more like that used in the regular season. Boys’ teams will not play more than two games in a week through the state final, while all the girls’ teams must win three games this week to claim a region title.
Sparks said he believes this to be a one-year scheduling phenomenon and both state tournaments are tentatively set for March 13-15 next year.
“As far as we know,” Sparks said, “we’re all in sync for next year and the years to come.”
Longtime Douglass Coach Tyrone Massenburg said the break challenged the late-season schedule he’s followed for years, but he viewed it as an opportunity to get healthy and re-focus.
Last Monday, the Eagles didn’t even touch a ball during practice, instead devoting the whole session to lifting and conditioning. He said some of last week’s practices felt more like preseason workouts with a heavy emphasis on shooting and other individual skills.
Massenburg will find out if that approach pays off when his team takes the court for the first time in 12 days on Tuesday at Glenelg to begin its run in the Maryland 2A South playoffs.
“We just went back to the basics,” Massenburg said. “We had some tough practices early in the week. We sharpened up and put in some new things. I don’t have a problem with it. I like that time to prepare for the playoffs. It’s almost like starting the season over again.”