CHAMPAIGN — Susan Thomas was in complete agreement to postpone Centennial’s sectional championship girls’ basketball game, scheduled for Thursday, due to the predictions of a winter storm moving through the area.
The Chargers coach, however, completely disagrees with the choice when to make up the game.
Centennial, ranked third in the state in Class 3A, will play unbeaten and second-ranked Quincy Notre Dame at 2 p.m. Saturday at Mount Zion High School.
“Both coaches and ADs (from the competing schools) want to play (today), but Mount Zion is unwilling to move an insignificant boys’ game to Saturday,” Thomas said. “We (Centennial and QND) are also willing to have another host, even if it means traveling further. There are plenty of schools that would be willing to host (today) and the IHSA is willing to go along with it, but the Mount Zion AD said ‘no.’ ”
If the game has to be played Saturday, then it shouldn’t be scheduled for the afternoon, Thomas said.
“Saturday at 2? We can’t even have a night game,” Thomas said. “I am really frustrated with Mount Zion. I can’t believe they are hosting and don’t have a vested interest, and they have been given all these suggestions and are unwilling to do any of them. They are being difficult.”
Thomas’ feelings are based on two reasons. If weather prohibits the sectional finals from being played Saturday, the super-sectional game still will be played Monday at Springfield.
“If something crazy happens (with the weather), it (the sectional winner) is determined by a coin flip,” Thomas said, “I hope like the dickens that we can play.”
Also, a Saturday game allows less time for the winner to get ready for Monday’s Elite Eight contest.
“If we could play Friday, there’d be time to prepare for the super-sectional,” Thomas said.
Most school districts frown upon — or outright prohibit — athletic teams from practicing on a Sunday.
“I believe we cannot make a Sunday practice mandatory,” Thomas said. “It can only be essentially a volunteer situation. My girls know what’s at stake and would come in, but several religions wouldn’t allow that.”
Centennial’s entire team will need to be at Mount Zion prior to noon Saturday. The three-point shooting contest, which features Centennial’s Nikki Bilger, requires a noon check-in time. Thomas said the school won’t ask Bilger to travel to the site by herself.
“We go to and from as a team,” said Thomas, whose squad is 30-3 and has won 10 games in a row.
Centennial planned to bus 45 students to the game, had it been played Thursday, but Thomas is not optimistic that many of them will make the trip Saturday afternoon.
“I doubt if they will go now,” she said.