High school games scrubbed during COVID break won’t be rescheduled

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Wade Vandervort

Liberty students cheer as their team scores against Coronado during a game at Liberty High School Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019.

Wed, Jan 12, 2022 (12:13 p.m.)

High school sporting events scheduled during the Clark County School District’s five-day COVID pause will be ruled a no contest and not be rescheduled, officials notified coaches this morning.

The district is canceling classes Friday through Tuesday because of “extreme staffing shortages” caused by rising COVID-19 cases, officials said. At some high schools, nearly 30 teachers have called out sick this week, officials said.

More than 2,000 employees districtwide called out Jan. 7, officials said last week.

The annual Big City Showdown high school basketball showcase is the most notable causality, as six varsity games were scheduled to run consecutively on Saturday at Bishop Gorman.

That includes class 5A league games pitting the state’s four top boys teams, with Durango taking on Liberty, and Coronado battling Gorman. Schedule makers and coaches worked to have these matchups as part of the showdown, which annually brings standing-room only crowds and is a celebration of the sport. It’s been contested previously at South Point and UNLV.

Considering the 5A only calls for schools to play each other once during the regular season — not twice like year’s past — the cancellation will leave some intrigue until the end of the season next month.

Gorman is playing for its 10th straight championship, but the others aren’t too far behind. Liberty, for instance, blew a double-digit second-half lead against Gorman in a holiday tournament and lost in double overtime.

The hope is the pause helps limit the virus spread in the district, which in turn would allow the winter sports season — bowling, girls flag football and wrestling — to conclude without further delays.

The pandemic canceled the entire fall and winter 2020-21 sports season, and when activities restarted in August, a handful of games in every sport were canceled over COVID protocols each week. That trend continued into the winter season, where just last week a notable girls basketball showdown between Centennial and Liberty was called off because of positive tests.

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