Lady Purples beat Barren County for Region 4 title

Bowling Green girls’ basketball coach Calvin Head smiles after receiving the game ball following the Lady Purples’ 58-48 win over Barren County in the Region 4 Tournament final March 7 at E.A. Diddle Arena.

Less than a week before the season was scheduled to begin, the KHSAA voted to move the start of basketball to Jan. 4 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Basketball will be reduced from a 12-week season to an eight-week season. District tournaments are currently scheduled to start March 1, with the region tournaments slated to begin a week later.

State tournaments are tentatively set March 17-21 and March 24-28 at Rupp Arena.

Those dates will be finalized at the KHSAA meeting next month.

In moving the start of basketball, the KHSAA also moved all winter sports – including swimming and wrestling – to the same Jan. 4 start date.

“I thought they did a good job of trying to salvage the season,” Bowling Green girls’ basketball coach Calvin Head said. “There’s still a lot unknown. There’s a lot of uncertainty. I’m not saying it is going to be any better by that time, but I think they did a really good job in making sure that – one – winter sports gets a season and they can salvage the state tournament, but most of all spring sports are protected. I think at the end of the day that is all we can ask for.”

Warren East coach Brandon Combs was preparing his team for Tuesday’s opener against Metcalfe County but said he expected the delay to happen.

“I think we all felt like and knew there was going to be a change,” Combs said. “We just didn’t know what that was going to look like. It picked up a ton of steam in the last few days. For it to go to January ... hey, it is better than nothing.

“We knew it was going to be moved. We wanted a date. Now it gives us hope.”

And the new date gives everyone more time to prepare to make sure the season can be completed safely.

“At the end of the day, public safety is your primary concern,” BG boys’ coach DG Sherrill said. “We want to get our guys in the gym and we want to have high school sports, everybody wants to have that, but I certainly understand the measures the KHSAA took today and the measures the governor took today. I think keeping public safety and trying to flatten the curve of this virus has to be our primary concern.”

The later start means a few changes, including some district games scheduled in December will now have to be rescheduled. Holiday tournaments are also scrapped, with the Purples slated to be part of the King of the Bluegrass in Louisville.

“I am hoping some events pop up in January and February, but it’s going to be tough to find something the caliber of King of the Bluegrass,” Sherrill said. “You want your kids to play in as many high-level events as you can play in. You want to play as good of competition as you can possibly play against. We have been blessed to be in King of the Bluegrass multiple times. It’s the best tournament in the state and you gain a lot out of that.”

The proposal for an eight-week regular season was approved after discussion that included possibly moving the state tournament to Derby Week.

Combs said he is glad they have chosen for the time being to keep it in March.

“It’s something you’ve grown to expect and the whole state expects – that it is going to be in March,” Combs said. “The fall sports gave up probably 30 percent of their games. I did the calculations and we are going to be short 12 games – which is about 30 percent of our schedule. In the end it played out the same for winter sports as it did for fall, where you had about a 30 percent reduction.”

Head said the extra time before the start could be valuable once the season begins.

“I think this gets us past all the big holidays and I feel like … once we get started, it will help us maintain the duration of the season and most of all be able to finish the season and have a state champion,” Head said.

“We are tickled to death that we are going to have an opportunity to play. It’s going to look different, but at the end of the day I thought they did a good job of trying to salvage the season and salvage and protect the state tournament in March.”{&end}

– Follow prep sports reporter Micheal Compton on Twitter @mcompton428 or visit bgdailynews.com.

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