ST. JOSEPH — The announcement came through the speakers at St. Joseph-Ogden High School just past noon Tuesday.
The Spartans boys’ basketball team would not make the trip to Springfield.
Neither would the three fan buses the school has arranged to make the 90-minute drive for the Class 2A super-sectional game between SJ-O and Riverton at the University of Illinois-Springfield.
“There were some kids in the office that were a little disappointed,” said Brian Brooks, SJ-O’s coach who also doubles as the school’s principal. “Others were still at lunch, so some of the kids had been outside and had seen what it was doing. They understood.”
Tuesday’s winner was the weather on the area boys’ basketball scene.
The game between SJ-O and Riverton was one of three involving News-Gazette-area teams pushed back a day because of snow and inclement weather throughout the state. The Spartans (28-3) and Hawks (26-3) are slated to tip off at 7:30 tonight, along with Cissna Park (21-10) against Illini Central (25-5) in a Class 1A super-sectional game at Redbird Arena in Normal, and Centennial (21-8) against Taylorville (18-15) in a Class 3A Mount Zion Sectional semifinal game.
For SJ-O and Cissna Park, this is the second straight week they’ve had a game moved back a day after poor weather affected their sectional semifinal dates.
“We’re kind of used to it,” Brooks said. “You can’t control it. We talk to the kids all the time about that. This is definitely one of them. We were prepared to play (Tuesday) and are hoping to play tonight.”
Brooks said the Spartans had a light practice Tuesday after school instead in preparation for their first super-sectional game since 2007. The school has sold all of its 600 tickets for the game, which will take place at UIS’ 3,000-seat The Recreation and Athletic Center (TRAC).
“I’ve been here 10 years, and this is the most excitement I’ve ever seen,” Brooks said. “It’s neat for the kids. Probably the neatest part I’ve seen is our student body and how they were at the games and want to be at the games. To me, that’s what high school is all about.”