For Burros, cheers and then tears

Region champs ‘heartbroken’ after state B gets suspended

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Posted: Friday, March 20, 2020 6:00 am

The celebration for the Region 2 champion Hillsboro-Central Valley Burros was short-lived.

Less than 24 hours after knocking off No. 2-ranked Hatton-Northwood on March 12 to win the region crown, the Burros and head coach Elliot Rotvold learned the state Class B boys basketball tournament had been suspended due to the new coronavirus.

Rotvold met with his players after school Friday to talk about the news.

“Everybody was kind of shocked and disappointed,” Rotvold said Tuesday. “It was crazy, unprecedented.”

Rotvold discussed the NCAA’s decision to cancel March Madness during a team walkthrough Thursday prior to the Region 2 championship game against the Thunder.

“At that point we were thinking there was a possibility (the Class B tournament) could be postponed or they could play it without fans or with limited fans,” he said.

The decision to suspend the state tournament came around 3:15 p.m. last Friday.

“I was just as much in shock at the meeting as the players were,” Rotvold said.

Jeremy Brandt, an H-CV assistant coach who also serves on the North Dakota High School Activities Association’s board of directors, said athletic officials had been in talks about a variety of options for the state tournament before it was suspended.

Those options included holding a tournament with no fans and having first-round games be played at four different host sites.

In that scenario, no consolation bracket would have taken place and the top four teams would have come together the following weekend to crown a state champion.

“It was mostly just people throwing out ideas over emails and texts,” he said.

While Brandt acknowledged NDHSAA labeled the tournament suspended rather than canceled, he said it’s doubtful the tournament could be resumed this spring.

“My guess is that the Burros’ season is over, although I hope that’s not the case,” he said. “It’d be hard to sit for two months and then just pick up practice May 15 in order to play June 1. That doesn’t seem realistic.”

Brandt said he felt bad for the Burros and their fans.

“I’m heartbroken. I really am. I’m heartbroken for our kids and especially our seniors,” he said. “I feel awful for them.”

Rotvold said the decision to suspend the season shouldn’t take away from the accomplishments of this year’s team.

“We came a long ways this season. It took us a little while to get going, but at the end I felt like we were as good as anyone in the state,” he said.

“It will be too bad if this team doesn’t get a chance to get out there and play a few more games and cement their legacy even more. But that is out of our control.”

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