Feb. 24—The Ohio high school boys and girls state basketball tournament games will take place at the University of Dayton next month, the Ohio High School Athletic Association announced Tuesday.
The decision came after the Ohio Department of Health and Public Health approved a variance to allow a greater number of fans at each game, according to OHSAA officials.
The girls state tournament will be held Thursday, March 11, through Saturday, March 13, while the boys state tournament will be held Friday, March 19, through Sunday, March 21.
For both state tournaments, the semifinals will be at 11 a.m., 2 p.m., 5 p.m., and 8 p.m., and the championship games will tip-off at 10:45 a.m., 2 p.m., 5:15 p.m., and 8:30 p.m.
The divisional order of play will be Division IV, III, II, and I.
Doug Ute, the OHSAA's executive director, said the organization is excited the University of Dayton has such a strong desire to host the basketball state tournaments.
He added the OHSAA appreciates all university officials did to receive a variance to allow more fans to attend. The specific number of fans permitted per game will be announced at a later date.
"We thank the health department officials for their cooperation as we worked through this request and we are committed to following the safety protocols they have in place," Ute said. "Our schools have gone through so much since last March and we are thrilled that the season will culminate with the state tournaments at such a great venue as UD Arena."
The boys state tournament was originally scheduled to be held at St. John Arena at Ohio State, but that facility is not available due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Last May, the OHSAA announced the University of Dayton would host the girls basketball state tournaments in 2021, 2022, and 2023. But the pandemic put the location of the 2021 state tournament in question due to spectator limitations and costs associated with the tournament.
"The state tournament is an experience that the players, coaches, and fans will remember for the rest of their lives and we are proud to be able to host these great events this year," said Scott DeBolt, the University of Dayton's senior associate athletics director.
Earlier this month, the OHSAA also announced the sites for the hockey and wrestling state tournaments.
The state hockey tournament will be held on March 13 and 14 in Columbus at Nationwide Arena's OhioHealth Ice Haus.
Nationwide Arena, the NHL venue which normally hosts the final four and championship game, was not able to host on the dates scheduled based on coronavirus restrictions. The Ice Haus is attached to Nationwide Arena.
The state wrestling tournament, which is traditionally held at OSU's Schottenstein Center, also has moved sites this year.
There will be separate sites for the three divisions on March 13 and 14. The Division I meet will be held at Hilliard Darby, with the Division II tournament at Sparta Highland, and Division III at Marion Harding.
"As we have seen throughout this pandemic, our member schools will do whatever it takes to provide participation opportunities for student-athletes," Ute said. "We thank our schools that have stepped up to host the regional basketball tournaments and all of our winter sports tournaments."
First Published February 23, 2021, 5:59pm