State run ends in heartbreak

Elkhorn’s Nick Brown battles a Waukesha West player en route to the hoop during a semi-final sectional game March 12 at Burlington High School. Due to crowd restrictions set forth by the WIAA in response to COVID-19, many of the seats in the background are empty. Typically, a postseason game would see the stands filled with fans. (Bob Mischka photo)

Local team’s dream ends as WIAA suspends season

By Jason Arndt

Staff Writer

Burlington High School has hosted several boys sectional semifinal contests in the past five years.

But a March 12 showdown between Elkhorn and Waukesha West brought the oddest of circumstances and put the Elks’ pursuit of another WIAA Division 2 state appearance to heartbreaking halt.

Unlike previous years, there were no cheerleaders, no pep bands and concessions were not offered. The odd circumstances were the result of what the World Health Organization described as a pandemic related to COVID-19, otherwise known as coronavirus.

With limited attendance to minimize spread of the virus, Elkhorn triumphantly defeated Waukesha West 69-63 and advanced to the sectional final, which put them one win away from reaching the Kohl Center at University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The triumph, however, was short-lived after the WIAA decided to cancel both the boys and girls basketball state championship series hours later during a meeting at the Resch Center in Green Bay.

“I want the student-athletes and their coaches to know that your school leaders, the WIAA executive staff, our committees and the Board of Control have done everything imaginable to try to provide and preserve these opportunities for you,” Executive Director Dave Anderson said. “However, we want and need to be responsible in helping the global and state efforts to stem the tide and spread of this virus.”

The WIAA, which had the girls tournament series underway, also learned it would not have access to the Kohl Center on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus for the boys tournament set for March 19-21.

The decision came the same week the National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League suspended operations indefinitely.

Heartbreaking end

Elkhorn coach Josh Skatrud admits it was heartbreaking for his players, however, he understood why the WIAA decided to cancel all contests.

“My initial reaction was heartbreak. We ask a lot from our players and they were so close to getting back to the state tourney,” Skatrud said.

Read the full story in this week’s Southern Lakes Newspapers’ publications.


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