TACOMA — The Hardwood Classic basketball tournaments began Wednesday in Tacoma, Yakima and Spokane as the number of coronavirus cases in the state continued to grow.
At the Tacoma Dome, the site of the Class 4A and 3A state high school championships, the action carried on as usual.
The Marysville Pilchuck boys, Marysville Getchell boys and Glacier Peak girls teams each played first-round, loser-out games in the morning.
Attendance appeared to be typical for the opening day of the tournament. Fans were scattered around the lower section of the arena, while student sections were packed together in the seats nearest to the court. Fan and student turnouts varied by school.
A large contingent of Marysville Getchell fans showed up to cheer on the Chargers, who were making the first Hardwood Classic appearance in their program’s nine-year history.
Marysville Getchell senior Joseph Tristen was among the fans. He said he couldn’t think of anyone who chose not to attend because of the virus.
“My girlfriend’s mom didn’t want to come in here, but she came anyway,” Tristen said.
Marysville Getchell boys coach Corby Schuh said the virus was a non-factor for his team’s plans.
“Not even a thought or concern,” he said. “The only difference is instead of shaking hands is maybe some fist bumps people were doing. For me, didn’t think twice about it. We were focused on coming down, having a good time, enjoying the experience and playing some good basketball.”
Marysville Pilchuck boys coach Bary Gould said his team has been taking basic preventative measures.
“Just a ton more hand sanitizer. … Just stuff like that,” he said. “And we have our names on our individual water bottles instead of sharing stuff.”
One of Marysville Pilchuck’s players, senior Cameron Stordahl, said he and his teammates each have their own personal hand sanitizer. But he said his focus remains on the hardwood.
“I’ve thought about (the virus), but I’m just here to play,” Stordahl said. “It’s a tough topic. It’s scary, of course. But I’m more focused on basketball right now.”
Mike Thompson, who drove the Marysville Getchell band to the Tacoma Dome, said he didn’t have any concerns relating to the virus.
“I had no concerns about coming to state,” he said. “In Marysville, our buses are are being cleaned twice a day, disinfected. So no.”
The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) announced Monday the tournaments would go on as planned.
“WIAA Staff is in communication with the Washington State Department of Health and will continue to receive guidance regarding our upcoming events,” the WIAA said in Monday’s press release. “The safety of participants and fans is the primary focus of our organization and we encourage those planning to attend to follow the prevention guidelines distributed by the Center for Disease Control.”
The release said the WIAA was working with the arena staffs at each of the three Hardwood Classic sites — the Tacoma Dome, the Yakima Valley SunDome (2A and 1A) and Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena (2B and 1B) — to treat “high-touch areas” with disinfectant approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The release also said increased hand sanitizer stations would be available at each site. At the Tacoma Dome, there were hand sanitizer stations outside the team locker rooms and inside entrances to the bathrooms.
WIAA information director Casey Johnson said Wednesday that the organization would not be commenting further on the matter.
The Hardwood Classics are scheduled to continue Thursday through Saturday.