Coaches Lament Loss Of MAAA Tournament

By ERIC X. VICCARO

EVICCARO@STEGENHERALD.COM

Interestingly enough, it’s not the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic that’s played the biggest role with local basketball schedules.

Poor weather and terrible road conditions across Southeast Missouri ultimately brought about the cancellation of last week’s Mineral Area Activities Association conference tournament.

“Due to multiple schools being unable to travel (Friday, Feb. 12), the MAAA Conference basketball tournament is officially cancelled,” said North County athletic director Chad Mills in an email to the Herald.

“The biggest impact is just not getting to play and staying in a routine,” Ste. Genevieve head boys’ coach Robert Coleman noted. “We haven’t been able to practice, and the kids haven’t been at school.

“I believe staying in a routine is important,” Coleman continued. “Now we haven’t played since Feb. 2 against Park Hills Central, and have only practiced a few times.”

The Dragons still have a small list of regular-season games remaining, but the MAAA Tournament typically serves as tune-up for teams entering the playoffs.

Ste. Genevieve head girls’ coach Jordanna Walk-Robison also lamented the loss of the tournament.

“We were all super disappointed and bummed the tournament was cancelled,” Walk-Robison explained. “They (the girls) just want to play basketball, and to have that chance taken away as the No. 1 seed going in was hard.”

Mills and the entire tournament committee tried with might to have the tournament, which even included the possibility of playing this past Sunday at one point. However, that never materialized.

“We were hoping for two more games,” said Valle head girls’ coach Brian Bauman, “in the tourney, and we felt we had a good chance in each of those contests. It would’ve been nice to get on a positive stretch going into districts.”

Bauman said with lingering weather issues, including this past Monday’s snowstorm, the Warriors’ regular-season finale with Jefferson R-7 remained in serious doubt.

Without the tournament, local teams scrambled to find new opponents. Here’s a rundown of replacement games listed below by team:

• The Ste. Genevieve girls played a game at Steelville this past Saturday. Look for details on the game in a separate story in this week’s Herald.

• The Ste. Genevieve boys have scheduled a junior varsity/varsity doubleheader against Class 1 powerhouse South Iron beginning at 6:30 p.m.

The JV boys’ game will start at such time because the South Iron varsity girls are playing Farmington at 5 p.m. that night.

• The Valle Catholic girls played a home game versus Farmington this past Friday.

• The Valle Catholic boys, thanks to athletic director Judd Naeger’s hard work, found two opponents to play in the form of Farmington and Jefferson R-7 on Friday and Saturday, respectively.

“I was glad we were able to play two games,” said Valle Catholic boys’ coach Tyler Search. “It was kind of a crazy week, but we were fortunate to get two games. I would like to thank coaches Naeger and (Nancy) Fischer, and all of those involved to help us play.”