SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - The basketball teams of Region 3-AAA are ending the regular season early, suspending play until the region tournament later this month.
WTOC has learned the decision was made during a region meeting Wednesday, and was approved by a 7-1 vote of the schools’ athletic directors.
The teams impacted are Beach, Groves, Johnson, Liberty County, Savannah, Southeast Bulloch, and Windsor Forest. Savannah Arts does not have a basketball program, but is a region member and was represented in the vote.
“We think this is the best course of action to protect the kids,” says Johnson girls’ basketball coach Brandon Lindsey.
Teams will be able to continue practice, but no region games will be played.
The region tournament is tentatively scheduled to begin Feb. 16. Seeding has not yet been decided, as teams have played a different number of region games. Sources say the seeding process will be decided during another meeting of athletic directors scheduled for early next week.
While seeding is still to be determined, the tournament itself will be played at different sites.
The decision comes one day after Windsor Forest put their basketball and baseball programs on hold Tuesday, citing COVID-19 protocols.
Savannah High athletic director and boys basketball coach Tim Jordan believes this is the best way to make sure teams in the region have a shot at playing in the state tournament. Teams that reach the region semifinals qualify for the GHSA Tournament.
“If we don’t do this now, we may not have a second season,” Jordan says.
Southeast Bulloch was the lone dissenting vote in the process. Co-athletic director Barrett Davis says the school wants to keep everyone as safe as possible, but isn’t a fan of changing the rules this late into the season.
The GHSA expects regions to complete all region tournaments by Feb. 20. The GHSA state basketball tournament is scheduled to begin play on Feb. 23-24.