By BRETT MARSHALL
Friday night's scheduled season-ending Western Athletic Conference basketball game between Dodge City and Liberal, to be played at Liberal, was cancelled on Friday by the USD 480 administration.
The game's cancellation has major impacts on both Class 6A and 5A boys sub-state pairings which were to be officially announced today.
Due to the cancellation, Dodge City's boys end the regular season with a 12-7 record while Garden City, by virtue of its 63-34 Tuesday victory over the same Liberal team, finished at 13-7.
Thus, by the seeding procedure of the Kansas State High School Activities Association, Garden's boys have been awarded the No. 2 seed in its four-team sub-state tourney.
The Buffs will play a Wednesday home game against either Campus or Wichita South, and a win would assure them of playing in the sub-state championship game, also at home on Friday night. A Dodge City win in its home sub-state semifinal, would send the Red Demons back to Garden City for the third meeting of the year, the Demons winning both previous contests by 15-point margins.
According to Scott Hinkle, athletic director at Liberal High School, the decision to cancel the game was due primarily to the fact that the USD 480 district did not conduct classes on Friday.
"There was just a feeling, a sense, that athletics shouldn't be given any higher priority than classes," Hinkle said. "It's been school policy that if there are no classes, there are no athletic events scheduled that day."
Hinkle said that officials of KSHSAA were contacted about the possibility of playing the game today, but KSHSAA has a 10 a.m. deadline for all games to be completed so sub-state pairings can be announced. Thus, any game played after 10 a.m. today would not be counted for postseason seedings.
Jay Gifford, athletic director at Dodge City High School, said in a telephone interview Friday morning, that the Red Demons were willing to make the trip to Liberal to play the game on Friday night.
"We knew how important the game was for our boys team, and the roads were certainly in good enough shape that we could have played," Gifford said. "It's unfortunate that a decision like this could be made that affects where postseason games end up potentially being played."
The cancellation also impacts the Redskins' boys team. They will finish 7-12, the same record as Salina South. South had an early season game with Derby postponed, and it will not be played. Thus, both the Mustangs and Redskins finish at 7-12.
In the same eight-team sub-state, Maize South and Valley Center are each 7-12 and face each other. Thus, Liberal will either finish as the fourth or fifth-seeded team and likely face Salina South. The winner of the Maize South-Valley Center game will draw the No. 3 seed and the loser ends up at No. 6.
On the girls side, the Lady Buffs (17-3) will likely be the No. 3 seed, and host either Dodge City or Campus and that will be played at 7 p.m. Thursday at the New Garden.