Hardwood Classic tips off after coronavirus outbreak

By Benjamin Olson and Andy Nystrom

Basketball players took to the court in Tacoma, Yakima and Spokane for the state Hardwood Classic tournaments on Wednesday.

Regarding the coronavirus outbreak, a statement from the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association on March 2 confirmed that the tournaments around the state would go on as originally planned. The statement said that all three state tournament venues (the Tacoma Dome, the SunDome in Yakima and the Spokane Arena) were going to provide more hand sanitizer stations for spectators. Also in the statement, the WIAA said high-touch areas would be disinfected.

“The tournament has been running fine. There’s been some cautious decisions for instead of handshakes — a fist bump,” said 3A/4A tournament director Mark Albertine at the Tacoma Dome. “The Tacoma Dome has done a wonderful job of sanitizing things and keeping things clean. We’re following the guidelines put forth by the Washington State Department of Health.”

Issaquah girls head basketball coach Doug Crandall said they have discussed the outbreak with the team.

“We’ve primarily talked about washing our hands,” Crandall said. “We have a towel that we use for substitutions, so we washed the towels. We feel that if we do those things, we’ll be good.”

Crandall said that after seeing some schools close, he was a little concerned if the tournament would go on.

“I was a little bit worried,” Crandall said. “But the WIAA made that statement that everything is going on, so we moved on too.”

For the teams that battled through league and district tournaments to make it to the Dome, it is a special opportunity to play on a big stage.

“You do worry about stuff like that,” Crandall said. “I’m glad they went on with it. It’s such a huge part of these girls’ lives.”

Kelly Hani, Lake Washington parent of Elise and Sydney who are playing in the tournament, said the team had been checking the WIAA website for information heading into the tournament.

“We just told them to wash their hands and practice good hygiene, and obviously don’t touch their eyes and nose more than they have to. To not worry about it. They’re strong, young, healthy ladies and I think they will be fine,” Hani said of her daughters.

The 3A/4A state basketball tournament runs from March 4-7 at the Tacoma Dome.