Basketball Needs Some Form of a Shore Conference Tournament in 2021
I left the football field at Wall High School Friday convinced that the unique circumstances which produced a first-ever (if unofficial) Shore Conference football champion is something that needs to continue in the future. You can tell me all you want about state titles but there is nothing like beating a team from your own “neighborhood” because those are athletes you likely know all about…some might even be friends.
I’ll save my Shore Conference Football Tournament argument for another day because today I want to take up the case of an event that has existed since 1937.
The Shore Conference Basketball Tournament is and has been the highlight of the winter sports season and even in a pandemic, every effort has to be made to stage some form whereby we crown a boys and girls team at the end.
Last week the NJSIAA released an update on the sports calendar for the winter season and it’s one that has four components. The start of the basketball season has been pushed back with practice to begin on January 11 and games to tip-off on January 26. The regular season will conclude on March 6, which means less than six weeks of games. Of course, this is all tentative and in the COVID world we live in there is nothing guaranteed.
The NJSIAA release also stated that postseason play will be considered at a later date but they will not sponsor a state basketball tournament. However, they may allow leagues like the Shore Conference to host their own postseason event like what we saw with the football “pods”, which was organized and administered locally.
The bottom line is there may be an opportunity for the top Shore teams to play one another after the regular season is over in March. This will take creativity, especially if the season is capped at 15 games from start to finish. If athletic directors schedule teams to play division rivals twice (like what was done in soccer) then trying to stage any multiple-game event at the end will probably not work. However, at the very least let’s try to create a schedule that might allow us to have our own version of “March Madness.” Nobody is saying it will be easy but get a few coaches involved in the process to see if something can be developed.
If it can’t be done then so be it, but you won’t know until you try. Crowning a Shore Conference Basketball champion will be the best way to end the season…just like it was last week on the field at Wall High School.
Kevin Williams is the Director of the Shore Sports Network and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @shoresportsman. Like Shore Sports Network on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel for all the latest video highlights.
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