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COVID gets in the way of even the 9C tournament

Box Elder boys in limbo, HLP girls drop out


Last updated 2/19/2021 at 7:56am

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

The masked up Box Elder cheer squad watches the Lady Bears play Thursday morning at the 9C Tournament.

The coronavirus pandemic already messed up the district tournament dreams of the Hays-Lodge Pole boys basketball team. And on Thursday, it just might have messed up even more 9C teams' dreams as well.

First, the Box Elder boys' semifinal game against second-seeded Chinook Thursday night was canceled because the Bears were contact traced. As per safety protocols, the Bears had to forfeit the semifinal game against the Sugarbeeters, and now, the rest of their season is in doubt. Box Elder was hoping to be cleared this morning, and if so would go on to play North Star in a loser-out game tonight at 6 p.m.

Originally, Box Elder's situation might have left the Chester-Joplin-Inverness Hawks in doubt, as well. CJI played the Bears in the first round of the 9C tournament Tuesday night in Box Elder and is slated to take on Big Sandy in a loser-out game this afternoon. But on Thursday night, tournament manager and Chinook Athletic Director Paula Molyneaux said that the Big Sandy-CJI game is a go for this afternoon.

Meanwhile, the girls tournament didn't escape the pandemic, either.

Because of the original outbreak within the HLP boys program, the Hays girls decided to withdraw from the tourney Thursday night. The Thunderbirds, who placed third a year ago, were supposed to play Turner in a loser-out game this morning, but instead, they opted to end their season, which means Turner got a forfeit, and advanced to Saturday morning's consolation game where the Tornadoes will face either Box Elder or Chinook.

And speaking of Chinook, the Sugarbeeter boys are once again back in the 9C championship game after Box Elder had to forfeit Thursday night's semifinal. Chinook will have a rematch with Fort Benton in the final game of the tournament Thursday night.

The 9C tournament continues today with the Chinook/Box Elder girls loser-out game this morning, followed by Big Sandy and CJI in a boys loser-out game at 3:30. If Box Elder is cleared to play, the Bears will face North Star in a boys loser-out game tonight at 6 p.m. The tournament concludes Saturday with the girls consolation game at 10:30 a.m., the boys consolation game at 1 p.m., the girls championship game at 3:30 p.m. and the boys championship game at 6 p.m.


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