Basketball season is over in Montana

Ryan Peerboom — Enterprise Staff Writer
Saturday, March 14, 2020
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Park’s Kodie Vondra (20) hesitates before making a dribble-move on a Hardin defender during the Lady Rangers’ 64-40 loss in the state semifinals at MetraPark in Billings after the cancellation of the tournament was announced. (Enterprise photo by Ryan Peerboom)

Shortly before the Lady Rangers played the Hardin Bulldogs in the Class A State semifinals on Friday night, the PA announcer addressed the crowd at First Interstate Arena at MetraPark and announced the cancellation of all MHSA State Basketball Tournaments upon completion of the semifinal rounds due to the coronavirus.

Mark Beckman, the executive director of the MHSA confirmed the news in a press release.

“The MHSA has received word from the Montana Department of Health and Human Services that there are now four confirmed cases of COVID-19,” the release said. “As such, the Montana High School Association has no choice but to cancel the remainder of our state basketball tournaments.”

Teams that qualified for the championship games will share the title.

“Though this is not the result that the MHSA wants, the Association will designate the winners of tonight’s semi-final as co-state champions,” the release said.

After the announcement, Hardin went on to beat the Lady Rangers 64-40 and were named co-champs along with Billings Central.

Earlier in the day, the Park boys lost to Hardin as well, 73-41. The undefeated Bulldog boys will share the title with Butte Central.

The Park boys were scheduled to play at 9 a.m. this morning in the consolation round with the girls following at 10:30 a.m.

Before the cancellation, Montana was the last state to hold their state tournaments without any sort of restrictions due to the virus.

Check Monday’s edition of the Livingston Enterprise for a recap of the semifinal round.