March 16, 2021


Just imagine how thrilled the 16 teams that made this year’s boys and girls State Class B Basketball Tournaments must have felt.
Now imagine how disappointed the 16 teams that made this year’s boys and girls State Class A Basketball Tournament must have felt.
One would think that making it to the state tournament is one of the greatest achievements that these student-athletes can achieve in their high school careers. And it should be. They battled all year for the opportunity to represent their schools and communities at the state tournament.
Only the best of the best make it to the state tournament. And in the past, the teams that made it to state were guaranteed to be able to play three games with the chance of placing from first to eighth place depending on the outcome of those games.
But this year, the North Dakota High School Activities Association (NDHSAA) really threw a real twist into the state tournaments. The 16 (eight boys and eight girls) teams that made the Class B State Basketball Tournament played those three games. And no matter how they fared at the tournament, they could claim that they placed at state. And they had a trophy to show for their efforts.
But that was not the case for the Class A teams this year. For some reason, the NDHSAA somehow decided that the Class A State Basketball Tournaments would be different. This year, only four (two boys and two girls) teams were lucky enough to make it to the championship game. All of the other teams went home after their first loss.
So what does that mean for the other six boys and six girls teams? It means that they only get to say that they made it to state. There were no third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh or eighth place teams. No trophies to display in their trophy cases. And no lasting history of their achievement.
The NDHSAA robbed these 12 Class A schools and their players, as well as the parents and fans of the recognition that they deserved.
Are the Class A schools, players and fans rightfully upset with the NDHSAA’s decision to treat their tournament differently than the Class B? You bet.
While making it to state has become routine for many of the Class A schools, that was definitely not the case for Watford City High School. This year the Wolves qualified for the “big show” for the first time in school history after moving up to the Class A ranks just three years ago. It was a significant accomplishment. And other than the recognition that they earned the right to play in the state tournament, they came away empty-handed when it comes to a state place trophy.
For whatever reason the NDHSAA used in operating the Class A and Class B State Basketball Tournaments differently, they definitely blew it.

By Neal A. Shipman
Farmer Editor