The second snowstorm to hit the Washington area in two weeks has school officials in Northern Virginia once again scrambling to make adjustments to the postseason basketball tournament schedule.
The tentative plan in the Virginia AAA Northern Region is to have its tournament champion crowned by no later than next Wednesday night, even if classes are canceled for the remainder of the week due to the additional snowfall expected today. The 16-team regional tournament -- already pushed back two days because of the previous snowstorm -- had been scheduled to begin last night with first-round games.
If schools are open today, according to the proposed plan, first-round games would be played tonight with the second round on Friday and higher-seeded teams hosting all games. The semifinals would be Saturday and finals on Monday at Robinson High. If schools are closed today but reopen Friday, the games will begin Friday and the championship will be played Wednesday.
Most other Northern Virginia public school basketball teams -- all of which were supposed to have their regional tournaments wrapped up by Saturday -- will play regionals next week. All Virginia state quarterfinals will be played on March 8.
"Right now everything is on a day-to-day basis," Lake Braddock Athletic Director Mark Martino said. "We're just trying to get the games in. . . . When I was a coach, the one thing I hated about going to states was that week off between games because your team could get stale. That's not going to happen now. And that may work in our favor."
D.C. public schools have pushed back their basketball semifinals a day, with the finals still scheduled for Friday. The D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association champions will have to be crowned in time to play in the March 7 City Title games.
The weather has not affected Maryland public school basketball to the same degree, because the state's postseason doesn't begin until Friday. Several counties, including Prince George's and Howard, have canceled their final regular season games because of the snow.
Meanwhile, spring sports practices are scheduled to begin in Maryland on Saturday, and Virginia schools have been allowed to hold spring practice since Monday. But with fields covered with snow and gyms full of winter sports athletes, there isn't much room to get started.
At Centennial High in Howard County, teams are scheduled to practice from 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday, using the gym and hallways. The school had to obtain a special waiver to allow practices that late, and Athletic Director Warren Michael said some teams, including the boys' lacrosse team, are looking into off-campus practice facilities.
"It's been headache after headache trying to get everyone a place to practice," Michael said. "The main thing is everyone has to be flexible."
Staff writer Todd Jacobson contributed to this report.