Snow threatens conference hoops tournaments
By Brad Crawford firstname.lastname@example.org
LUMBERTON — For the second time during the winter sports season, the onslaught of snow has forced several postponements and a possible major cancellation in Robeson County athletics.
Dubbed ‘Pax’ by The Weather Channel, this week’s storm dumped nearly six inches of snow in the area on Tuesday then followed that up with light flurries and a wintry mix on Wednesday.
Treacherous conditions along bus routes forced Public Schools of Robeson County officials to cancel classes — and athletic events — through Thursday with Friday’s full slate of hoops also in jeopardy thanks to projected sleet and freezing rain.
Red Springs’ administration was proactive over the weekend and moved its Tuesday night game against Whiteville up a day in lieu of the oncoming system and now other coaches and athletic directors will try to pencil in postponed games on open days before conference tournaments arrive next week.
Public Schools of Robeson County athletic director Jason Suggs says remaining regular season basketball games take precedent over league tournaments since those contests do not count toward playoff seeding.
With three games left in the regular season for Lumberton, Purnell Swett and Fairmont — a team already playing from behind with one postponement to make-up from a previous weather disruption in January – playing games on Saturday would be a necessity if school is cancelled through Friday.
“Conference tournaments help pay for individual all-conference awards and gives teams that aren’t making the playoffs a chance to receive an automatic berth with a championship,” Suggs said Wednesday. “Playoff seeding is based on regular season results. I think doing away with conference tournament is a possibility depending on what happens with this ice by the end of this week.”
Two make-up games have already been announced for Saturday: St. Pauls’ home contest against East Columbus which was originally scheduled during the last week of January will be played at 2 p.m. Lumberton travels to Laurinburg to take on Scotland two hours later.
Fairmont’s boys are in line for the league’s top 2A seed if they can win their final three games, but Michael Baker’s group has seen the floor just twice over the past two weeks. NCHSAA rules forbid a team playing more than three games in a week, so it’s essential the Golden Tornadoes don’t miss anymore time since Tuesday’s game against South Columbus — and Thursday’s matchup with East Columbus — has already been postponed due to snow.
If school’s in session Friday, Fairmont could play a game that night, Saturday and Monday before the league tournament is set to begin later next week.
“It would be a tough stretch of games in few days, but there’s other teams facing a similar situation,” Suggs said.
The Public Schools of Robeson County have already announced their initial snow make-up plan for the last wintry mess suffered Jan. 28, 29, 30 and 31 and that includes a regular school day — instead of a teacher work day — on Feb. 17, according to Tasha Oxendine, PSRC’s public information officer.
If an additional four days have to be made up locally, the school district’s spring break may be erased.
Wednesday’s sleet and previous accumulation has already wiped out the first day of baseball tryouts across the state and the absence of spring break would put the 2014 Robeson County Slugfest in jeopardy.
“We’re not at that stage yet,” Suggs said. “That’s for the district to decide.”
Hoke (12-9, 6-1) — Next game: Friday at Pinecrest
Richmond (13-7, 5-3) — Next game: Friday vs. Scotland
Scotland (6-11, 5-3) — Next game: Friday at Richmond
Lumberton (10-10, 3-4) — Next game: Friday vs. Swett
Pinecrest (6-13, 3-5) — Next game: Friday vs. Hoke
Swett (3-14, 1-7) — Next game: Friday at Lumberton
Three Rivers Conference
Fairmont (15-5, 10-1) — Next game: Friday at South Robeson
Red Springs (15-6, 10-2) — Next game: Friday vs. St. Pauls
Whiteville (15-4, 8-4) — Next game: Friday at South Columbus
East Columbus (8-10, 6-5) — Next game: Friday at West Columbus
South Columbus (11-9, 6-5) — Next game: Friday vs. Whiteville
West Columbus (7-10, 2-9) — Next game: Friday vs. East Columbus
St. Pauls (3-16, 2-9) — Next game: Friday at Red Springs
South Robeson (3-15, 1-11) — Next game: Friday at Fairmont
Scotland (10-7, 8-0) — Next game: Friday at Richmond
Richmond (12-5, 6-2) — Next game: Friday vs. Scotland
Lumberton (13-7, 4-3) — Next game: Friday vs. Swett
Pinecrest (6-12, 3-5) — Next game: Friday vs. Hoke
Hoke (4-16, 2-5) — Next game: Friday at Pinecrest
Swett (5-13, 0-8) — Next game: Friday at Lumberton
Three Rivers Conference
East Columbus (13-5, 12-0) — Next game: Friday at West Columbus
Whiteville (9-9, 8-4) — Next game: Friday at South Columbus
Red Springs (10-11, 8-4) — Next game: Friday vs. St. Pauls
St. Pauls (10-11, 8-4) — Next game: Friday at Red Springs
South Robeson (6-10, 6-5) — Next game: Friday at Fairmont
Fairmont (3-13, 3-8) — Next game: Friday at South Robeson
South Columbus (5-12, 1-10) — Next game: Friday vs. Whiteville
West Columbus (5-15, 1-11) — Next game: Friday vs. East Columbus
Reach Brad Crawford at 910-272-6111 or on Twitter @MrPalmettoSDS.
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