At the monthly NSAA Board of Directors Meeting on Thursday morning, the board voted 8-0 in favor of keeping the 2021 boys and girls state tournament in Lincoln.
The tournament’s, however, will move to a five-day format with all games being played at the Pinnacle Bank Arena and up to five Lincoln high schools.
The girls tournament will be March 2-6 with the boys following on March 9-13. The schedules will be the same for both tournaments. Pinnacle Bank Arena will be an anchor host site with 60 games over the 10-day run of tournaments.
“Maximizing the use of Pinnacle Bank Arena was a real point of emphasis for us,” NSAA basketball director Jon Dolliver said. “We feel that is the best experience for the kids. It’s exciting to be able to get more games in Pinnacle Bank Arena.
“Schools have been willing to do whatever to do to get to play. Our board gave us a great opportunity to get us as many games as we could at PBA. We feel like their are a lot of positives that can come from this.”
On Tuesday each week, Pinnacle Bank Arena will host six first round games beginning at 9 a.m. Two Class B games will start followed by the four Class A games. Class B games will also start the each Wednesday at PBA at 9 a.m. followed by the four C-1 games. Dolliver said efforts will be made to have teams with the furthest travel in Class B to play games on that side of the bracket on Wednesday in to help with travel costs.
Also on Wednesday, the three smaller classes will be held at Lincoln high schools with the sites still to be determined. The tentative schedule for those days will be games at 11:15 a.m., 1:30, 4:00 and 6:15 p.m. Dolliver said five of the six Lincoln high schools (Lincoln High the exception) could be used over the two week format.
Thursday and Friday will be semifinal games all at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Thursday will be the lower classes (D-2, D-1, C-2) and Friday will be semifinals in C-1, B and A. All semifinal games will be played in class order. The Saturday championship games will stay as originally scheduled at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
The reason for the adjustment is multi-faceted, including arena capacity and availability of facilities. Additionally, the University of Nebraska’s volleyball schedule with home matches on March 11-13 conflicted with the original boys state tournament dates.
On Tuesday, the Lincoln/Lancaster County Health Department issued new directed health measures that raise indoor capacity limits from 25% to 50% with a maximum of 10,000 spectators.
Three scenarios were presented at the board meeting Thursday. The other options included a four-day format that started on Wednesday, but used a Lincoln high school for Class C-1 and two Class B games. A three-day format was also discussed but would have moved semifinal games to a Lincoln high school.
“We feel like spreading the event out and one-game sessions to keep the arena’s clean will be a positive,” Dolliver said.
He noted that because of the additional sessions that the NSAA is working on all-day passes and all-tournament passes for both events with announcements to be made in the coming weeks.
nebpreps.com editor Tony Chapman contributed to this report