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Class A State basketball tourney moved to Great Falls

by FRITZ NEIGHBOR
Daily Inter Lake | February 15, 2021 1:00 AM

The Class A State basketball tournament is among a slew of game postponements and postseason tournament changes currently happening across all classes of Montana high school winter sports.

The combined State A is on the move from Butte to Four Seasons Arena in Great Falls. Those tournaments will be held March 3-6, a week earlier than planned.

Before this week, the State A basketball tournaments were to be played at two venues – the Center and Maroon Activity Center – in Butte. On Jan. 28 the Montana High School Association announced the A and C tournaments “tentatively” would be in Bozeman and Butte. Columbia Falls High School activities director Troy Bowman said he and the rest of the Class A activity directors learned of a possible change early last week.

“There were some vocal opponents to being in Butte because of the health restrictions,” Bowman said. “One option was to keep it in Butte and the other was to take it to Great Falls.”

A third option, not seriously considered, was to split up the boys’ and girls’ tournaments. Bowman said the vote was 18-2 in favor of changing venues.

Butte’s restrictions include a limit of just 20 personnel, including players, per team. Off that each participant was allowed two tickets for each game he or she played. The girls’ would be at one gym, the boys another.

The move to Great Falls allows the State A to bring in more fans: On Jan. 28 the MHSA announced plans to allow up to four tickets per participant, and up to 25 percent capacity of the venue used, with no more than 500 fans per team. The MHSA also allowed for local county health departments to make adjustments.

These restrictions in Butte will be in place for the Western A Divisional, which is in the Mining City on Feb. 25-27.