Jamestown High School athletic director Jim Roaldson is used to suspending winter activities due to hazardous weather conditions, but not because of an infectious disease.
The North Dakota High School Activities Association on Friday suspended this weekend's Class A state basketball tournaments in Fargo and all remaining winter postseason state tournaments due to the emergency declaration issued by President Trump in the ongoing effort to battle the outbreak of COVID-19.
The suspension includes the state Class B boys basketball tournament that was scheduled to begin Thursday in Bismarck.
"It's not shocking," Roaldson said. "Based upon what has been happening the last 24 hours with a lot of the NCAA and a lot of professional sports, it's just kind of a trickle-down effect and it just took a little bit longer to get to us."
In a press release issued Friday, the NDHSAA stated all remaining winter athletics and fine arts would be suspended indefinitely. Spring sports seasons have also been suspended, which includes practices and competitions. There has yet to be any formal action taken by state authorities on a possible suspension of classes.
"What it means right now is that everything is on hold until we have more answers," Roaldson said in regards to high school athletics. "It's kind of hour-by-hour type of thing."
The NDHSAA's suspension of activities did not formally bring a close to this year's Class A state basketball tournaments, but Jamestown boys basketball coach Jacoby Lloyd said he wouldn't be shocked if his third year at the helm of the Blue Jays was abruptly cut short Friday.
Lloyd and the defending state champion Blue Jays defeated Devils Lake in the state quarterfinals Thursday and were scheduled to play West Fargo Sheyenne in the semifinals on Friday night at Fargo's Scheels Arena.
"It's understandable from a big picture view of our world, of how we need to control and limit some of these things from spreading, but it has been heartbreaking for all of our kids and for all of the kids in the state tournament," Lloyd said. "They put in so much time and effort to get to this point in the year. I don't know if crazier things have happened before?"
The Blue Jays (21-4) entered the state tourney as the West Region's No. 2 seed and won five of their last six games without injured all-state senior guard Boden Skunberg. Jamestown nearly captured a second straight conference tournament title last week in Bismarck, after rolling to a perfect 27-0 state championship in 2018-19.
"I am extremely proud of how they have played and how they have handled themselves this entire year," Lloyd said. "We've had an extraordinary year with a lot of different kids stepping up and playing big roles who haven't had to do that at a varsity level, and that has been exciting. I am just really grateful for the amount of hard work they have put in for us to get to this point."
"Especially for seniors who are in that position -- those who don't have the opportunity to have that closure and finish off their careers -- you feel for them," Roaldson said. "Your heart aches for them, you want them to have the opportunity to go out and showcase what they are capable of doing and have them have that finality or at least that closure.
"At the same time, one of the life lessons that we learn in athletics is that life is bigger than sports. We can't put people at risk for these things and we have to trust those people that are 'in the know' that have the decision-making power to make the appropriate decisions."
In its Friday press release, the NDHSAA stated further information will be released as it becomes available and a refund process regarding the 2020 NDHSAA Class A Basketball State Tournament and the 2020 NDHSAA Class B Boys Basketball State Tournament will be communicated at a later time online at: www.ndhsaanow.com.
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