Last time The Dalles boys and girls basketball teams played a live game was on Feb. 1 against Ridgeview.
Since then, however, both teams have had two games canceled and rescheduled multiple times due to snowy weather and dangerous road conditions, which creates a bit of turmoil, as they have played in just four Intermountain contests, while Redmond, Ridgeview and Crook County have each completed six tilts and both Hood River Valley and Pendleton have finished five games.
Through the battle with Mother Nature, The Dalles athletic director Matt Morgan has been in communication with other Intermountain Conference ADs to determine how they would go about solving the scheduling issues.
The goal is to do whatever it takes to get every game in, even if it means playing on back-to-back nights.
“We want the players to decide who gets a chance at the state playoffs,” Morgan said. “It would be terribly unfair if we let bad weather determine the outcome of the league. While it has been a struggle, all the ADs are focused on putting the safety of the kids first, while giving them a chance to give themselves an opportunity to qualify for the postseason.”
If unable to wrap up the schedule before the OSAA-imposed soft deadline of Feb. 26-27, it could be changed. Administrators set up a contingency plan, which is like a district tournament, where the top-2 teams play a game at a neutral site to determine the league champion.
The No. 3 and No. 4 seeds would then play for the final playoff spot.
As of Friday, both Riverhawk teams are entrenched in fourth place with 2-2 league records, three games up on the bottom two teams.
The Dalles girls have lost 10 practices, the boys four, and both have canceled games, so it is a matter of catching up on repetitions, especially since it will be 18 calendar days between games.
“Our biggest focus has been on improving every day this year,” TD boys basketball coach Nathan Morris said. “It is quite difficult to improve when your gym time is so inconsistent. We are also trying to play at a very fast pace; a fast pace requires athletes to be in great shape, which is difficult to do if you can’t get in the gym.”
Back during the 2016-2017 winter, administrators across the state dealt with a similar situation where bad weather pushed games back, so they have experience looking for ways to get games in.
“It has been tough for the teams because when we cancel school, they cannot practice, so they are falling behind a lot of other schools,” Morgan said. “We have relaxed some of those rules because we want them to stay as sharp as possible while we deal with these pressing matters. We are trying our hardest to make it work. I am confident it will be resolved.”
The girls host Pendleton at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday and the boys head to Pendleton, and then both teams travel to Hood River Valley for contests at 5:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. next Friday.