Inside High School Sports Houston | UIL State Suspended

UIL State Suspended

The Alamodome court usually serves as a canvas for the magic of March, a place where dreams come true and lifetime memories are made. But this week, it paints a different picture, empty and silent following the suspension of the UIL State Final Four.

-Jamey Harrison, UIL Deputy Director :23 This was a very difficult decision, a painful decision for us, but one that we thought was the best decision for everyone involved 2:05 We realize that making this decision, and the decisions we made prior to limit the number of fans, was not the most convenient for the communities here supporting these teams and the state tournament fans in general, but we felt it was the best we could do to keep our great state healthy

It’s a crushing decision for the players of every team remaining. Fort Bend Hightower players learned of the decision at their team hotel in San Antonio just hours before they were set to hit the floor in the Class 5A semifinals.

Christopher Harris, SR 1:20 You can just tell by their faces that we were ready to play, I wish we could just get on the floor one more time for my last high school game

Kristopher O’Neal, SR 2:20 It’s very devastating, all this hard work we put in all year, it’s a big accomplishment just getting to this point, but not getting to our ultimate goal, which is getting that ring, it’s just very devastating 3:32 We lost in regionals last year, so getting over that hump, and then we get to this point and we can’t even compete for a ring, it’s hard, it’s hard, I’m at a loss for words, it’s just hard for us

Stephen Woods, HC 9:33 My heart goes out to them bc I know all the hard work they put in to get to this point, as a team, all the preparation, the game planning, and we were clicking, we had the camaraderie going, we were playing well on the court, and to not be able to come out and play on the biggest stage is disappointing

For coaches of teams that advanced to state, it’s a difficult predicament, feeling the frustration of their players, while also needing to prioritize the health and safety of their teams and communities.

Greg Wise 1:54 For the kids, they don’t really understand the whole thing, and actually nobody does, and a lot of what they hear is that it’s not affecting people their age as much, and so you got everything from being very disappointed to that saved them bc we were as ready to play as you can be and so you have mixed emotions of things 2:57 Nobody knows, obviously you want to be safe and that’s the most important thing, so whatever they need to do to make sure everybody is safe and you don’t lose lives and that sort of thing, that’s obviously what you should do first

Another impact for these players not getting to compete on the sport’s biggest stage is a potential lost opportunity to grab the attention of college coaches and recruiters who often attend this event.

Kristopher O’Neal, SR 2:50 Playing on this stage, getting to this point, there’s a lot of opportunities for us, knowing we have seniors unsigned, a lot of coaches could have been there to showcase our talents, we worked hard for this all year and we can’t even showcase our talents

Ja Robertson, SR 7:03 We’re here now and our opportunity is slipping away, we have so many good guys that could have done something, anything, and would have been looked at by the right people and there lives would have changed forever from this opportunity and now it’s gone

Stafford in Class 4A and Dickinson in Class 6A also earned trips to state, joining Hightower in 5A and Yates in 4A. The hope is that all four programs will eventually get the opportunity to play their state semifinal games at some point in the near future.

Greg Wise, Yates HC 1:23 We wanna win the state championship and that’s the main thing but to be able to lose last year and get back and work as hard as we did the last year, and then get back to that point and then get told right as they were pulling in, it was rough on them 1:01 Very disappointed bc we’ve been waiting on this game since last year, they were about as locked in and fully prepared as any team I’ve ever had in terms of practicing as hard as you need to practice

Nicholas Hale, SR 5:34 We want it bad, we want it bad, just one more time, we’re gonna get that ring if we play, we’re gonna get it

Ja Robertson, SR 7:53 That’d mean everything to us, it was expected of us to win a state championship, it’s what we worked for, we didn’t expect anything less, it came to this point, I hope we still get to play the game

Kristopher O’Neal, SR 3:52 There’s gotta be a way for us to play, there’s gotta be, it’s something we’ve waited all year for, it’s a lifetime opportunity, it’s very hard to get to this point.

Stephen Woods, HC 11:35 I’m very proud of this group, they trusted me, the parents trusted me, they stayed the course, stuck to the game plans, and I just wanted to see them go out as champions

The UIL says it is working through potential contingency plans with the hope that there is still a possibility to play the state final four.

5:51 I can’t tell if you that will be next week, or next month, we just don’t know, we have to see how things continue to develop, but that is absolutely our intention to give the young men on these basketball teams and earned the opportunity that for almost all of them is the biggest event of their lives to this date, and certainly an experience they will carry with the rest of their lives, we want to give them that experience and the opportunity to complete it 8:15 I can tell you we would love to bring them here to the Alamodome and give them the full experience we could possibly give them, these kids have earned that and we will do everything possible to give that to them