Pospisil: 'It’s been hectic' — string of winter storms are making high school schedules snow fun

Snow has wreaked havoc on district basketball schedules. “It’s been hectic,” Jon Dolliver, the NSAA assistant director in charge of basketball, said. “But it’s amazing this time of the year how you find you’re working with some great people. They want to provide opportunities for kids while being safe.”

If it’s the week of state swimming and district basketball, snow is bound to show up. Five times this decade, including the past three years.

In the eye of the storm(s) again is Jon Dolliver, the NSAA assistant director in charge of basketball. While the decisions on when and where to play games are left to the schools, the NSAA provides guidance and options.

Tuesday saw Class A postpone its first round of girls districts to Thursday, pushing the finals back a day to Friday while some boys subdistricts moved up games to earlier in the day or postponed to Wednesday. All subdistrict finals will be Thursday.

Girls district finals are set for Friday, but Dolliver said the NSAA is giving the option for those to be played Thursday. As of midafternoon Wednesday, at least three games were moved up. Of the games remaining on Friday, some will be played earlier than first announced to get on the road home sooner.

“We want to get everything in girls done on Friday to get their state tournament seeded and then we’ll move on for Saturday,” Dolliver said Wednesday. “And, obviously, we’re also dealing with the state swimming and diving meet.”

As for Saturday, when another winter storm is in the forecast as Class A boys are to play first-round games and the other five classes have district finals, well …

Dolliver said in Classes A and B, the only classes in which boys pairings are set, schools will have the option of moving games from Saturday to Friday — as they did last year. The NSAA staff reached that decision Wednesday after hearing from the National Weather Service that travel conditions could start deteriorating in parts of the state after noon Saturday.

Games not played Saturday will be moved to Monday, he said.

More long trips than ever are in store with the welcome advent of statewide seeding for district finals. Central Nebraska is a common meeting place in the C and D classes, which have neutral-site games. Class B has the higher seed hosting, so Scottsbluff is bound for Seward, Alliance to Elkhorn Mount Michael and Lexington to Omaha Skutt on Saturday. Or whenever.

In Class A boys, the longest trips are Omaha Benson to Kearney, Lincoln Southeast to Norfolk and Grand Island to Omaha Bryan.

“It’s been hectic,” Dolliver said. “But it’s amazing this time of the year how you find you’re working with some great people. They want to provide opportunities for kids while being safe.

“With the format changes with statewide district finals, it’s unique for schools on opposite ends of the state to work with each other to find sites and facilities. Moving up games in girls can conflict with boys and they have to make some tough decisions. I don’t envy athletic administrators.”

When talking about making changes at short notice, don’t forget the men and women with whistles.

“When a game gets moved up to a 3 p.m. start on Friday, we have to have three of them. They’re not sitting around the house, either. They’re at work,” Dolliver said. “Our officials have been good getting to games and when they can’t be there letting schools know. They’re taking off work in a lot of cases.”

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Stu is The World-Herald's lead writer for high school sports and for golf. Follow him on Twitter @stuOWH. Phone: 402-444-1041.

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