Center Grove girls to keep their 8 o’clock start

The Indiana High School Athletic Association has refused a proposal from Center Grove High School to modify scheduling of the Class 4A Bedford North Lawrence girls basketball Regional.

Center Grove sought to play the 6 p.m. semifinal tonight against No. 1-ranked and defending two-time state champion BNL in order to avoid a late-night or early-morning return in what is forecasted to be frigid weather conditions.

However, the IHSAA chose Sunday afternoon to keep the schedule as is with second-ranked Columbus North (24-1) facing Evansville Central (22-3) at 6 p.m. and the Trojans (20-6) battling Bedford North Lawrence (25-0) at approximately 8.

The championship game will be Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Center Grove had proposed two potential scheduling options to IHSAA assistant commissioner Sandra Walter – to flip-flop this evening’s semifinal games or play one tonight at 7 and the other Tuesday at 7 p.m. with the title game on Wednesday.

Efforts proved futile, so Center Grove High School principal Doug Bird contacted IHSAA commissioner Bobby Cox.

“Doug called him, but the IHSAA didn’t want to budge. It’s something like the hypocrisy we see sometimes with the NCAA,” Center Grove athletics director Jon Zwitt said.

“This is not in the best interest of the student-athletes.”

All regional games were to be played Saturday with Center Grove-BNL playing at approximately noon following the conclusion of Columbus North’s 10 a.m. semifinal.

However, the possibility of heavy snowfall forced tournament organizers to initially opt for 5 and 7 p.m. semifinal starts on Saturday and a Monday night championship game.

It was then decided the Monday-Tuesday setup would work best, even though the Trojans in a best-case scenario likely wouldn’t get back home until around midnight.

While disappointed with the IHSAA’s final decision, Center Grove girls basketball coach Shawn Sanders is attempting to take a positive approach.

“The games are important, but it’s asking a lot. Obviously, school is the No. 1 priority. Our girls were mentally prepared to play Saturday morning, and when that got pushed back I think they were a little disappointed,” Sanders said.

“It’s a little bit exhausting, but I’m so pleased that our administration is looking out for these girls.”

Mike Beas is a sports writer for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at