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IHSAA allows basketball teams to play 22 regular-season games in 2014-15

Effective in 2015-16, the girls basketball and boys basketball tournaments will no longer overlap.

Posted on May 7, 2014 at 8:28 p.m.

The winds of change are sweeping through high school basketball in Indiana.

The IHSAA Board of Directors acted this week and here are three of the top hardwood-related items:

• Effective with the 2014-15 school year, all IHSAA member schools will be allowed to play two extra games, increasing from 20 to 22.

• Also in 2014-15, junior varsity contests will go from six- to seven-minute quarters. Varsity quarters will remain at eight and freshmen at six.

• In 2015-16, the IHSAA calendar will be adjusted so the girls basketball state championship and boys basketball sectionals do not overlap.

That will leave an overlap between the beginning of girls basketball practice and volleyball sectionals.

As many schools have experienced, tournament success by other fall sports could also dig into the schedules of winter programs, including girls basketball.

Westview High School athletic director Darlene Mathew is already figuring out how to add to games to her girls and boys hoops calendars. The twist with the girls is that their season is one week shorter than the boys.

"The two games are nice, but where do we put them?" said Mathew. "With one less week to work with that really squeezes things together pretty tight.

"Our community will love the extra basketball."

Elkhart Christian Academy head boys basketball coach Ryan Culp said that his nearly 20 years of coaching tells him that 18 to 20 regular-season is about the "ideal" number.

"It's already challenging for students to balance the demands of an academic load," said Culp. "You add two more games and that will strain that a little bit more. At the same time, it could lead to new opportunities and events that would not be possible otherwise."

Concord High School head coach Steve Austin said it is important to place the added games in the right place.

"It's hard to find time to play those extra games," said Austin. "For me, it would be at Christmas. You've got to play it smart."

Elkhart Memorial High School head girls basketball coach Steve Scott likes the possibilities created by the schedule expansion.

"I'm all for playing as many games as possible," said Scott. "It's both a chance to make a little extra money (from another home game or two) and to maybe play some new teams and expose the girls to that."

While the immediate addition of basketball games will keep her hopping as she helps map her school's sports schedules, count Elkhart Memorial assistant athletic director Phyllis Tubbs as a fan of the 2015-16 girls basketball change.

"I'm in favor of it in order to get the girls state finals off the boys sectional," said Tubbs.

In 2015-16, the first girls basketball practice date is Oct. 19, 2015, with volleyball sectionals the same week.

Girls basketball sectionals are slated for the Week of Feb. 1, 2016, with the State Finals on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016, (the end of the boys basketball regular season).

Boys basketball sectionals are scheduled for the Week of Feb. 29.

"It's a step in the right direction," said Goshen High School athletic director Larry Kissinger. "The girls baskeball finals suffered because of (the girls state vs. boys sectional) conflict."

Tubbs notes that the "final straw" for the IHSAA might have come at the 2013-14 girls state championships in Terre Haute, when Indianapolis media stayed away from the Hulman Center in order to cover boys basketball sectional finals on the same day.

Many girls teams eliminated from the tournament who might attend the finals in their sport also stayed away, opting to attend boys sectional games.

As was announced in March, the girls finals will return to Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis beginning in 2014-15.




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