SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM)--High school boys' basketball is looking to get back to a relatively normal season after the coronavirus pandemic forced the game to be played a completely different way last year.
But now, the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association is putting a plan in place for tournament play.
"I'm excited and happy that we're going be able to go back and play regular and compete regular too," athlete Deavin Reynolds said.
No jump ball, no halftime and no fans. That was the environment for every high school basketball player last season due to the COVID-19 pandemic limiting the style of play.
"It was like scrimmaging. Instead of a real game, it felt like scrimmaging," Reynolds said.
But looking ahead, these hoopers are looking to get back to how they used to play. Something Central High School junior basketball player Deavin Reynolds said is relieving.
"I think it's good because I can actually play now, and the mask won’t be on my face all the time, I don't have to hear the refs always telling me to put it up," Reynold said.
The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association came out with a tentative plan for the boy’s high school tournament for the upcoming season.
They anticipate hosting the tournament towards the start of Feb. school vacation near Feb. 24. The seeding is expected to take place Friday, Feb. 25 of 2022.
Following the seeding comes the actual rounds. The idea is to have all 32 teams play within the three days of Feb. 28th to Mar. 2, and the goal is to complete each round of the tournament within that time frame.
"So basically, what you would see is kind of alternating Monday through Wednesday, and then Thursday through Saturday, with also leaving Sunday as a potential opportunity to play if needed, to start a round early or to complete a round if needed," the MIAA Boys Basketball Committee said.
For each round, there will be a capacity limit for tickets. For the preliminary play-in and round of 32 games - there's a capacity of 250 tickets. For rounds 16 and round eight games, the capacity is set at 500. And for the semi-finals and finals, the MIAA will have predetermined sites.
Reynolds says having fans back inside makes all the difference in the world.
"When it's a close game, hearing all the fans in the stands, it makes the game better. Without the fans, it makes everything quiet and boring game, and with all of the fans back, it'll be good," Reynolds said.
The MIAA is still working the details out, this plan will head to the tournament management committee, where they will approve of the proposal and make their final decision on this structure.