SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- The California Interscholastic Federation announced Thursday it was cancelling the remaining regional high school basketball games and the upcoming state high school state championship tournament because of fears surrounding the spread of the coronavirus.
Less than 24 hours after the NBA halted its season and less than an hour after the Pacific-12 Conference announced it was calling off its post-season tournament, California high school officials followed suit.
"This decision was made after careful deliberation and in the primary interest of protecting the health and safety of our member schools, fans, and most importantly, our student-athletes," CIF officials said in a release. "While we understand this decision is disappointing, we strongly believe that the opportunity to compete in this event does not outweigh our obligation to place the health and safety of our member schools and school communities above all else."
The regional finals were scheduled for March 12 and the CIF State finals scheduled for March 13-14 at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento. Eight San Francisco Bay Area teams had been in contention for regional or state finals.
"The impact of COVID-19 created many unexpected challenges during this year's tournament season, and we want to thank everyone involved for their flexibility, patience, and commitment in providing our student-athletes a great experience despite this unique situation," officials said.
Refunds for all tickets purchased would be made available at the original point of purchase. If tickets were purchased online via ticketmaster.com, refunds will be processed automatically.
Several Bay Area teams had already been forced to end their hoop dreams early because of the virus spread forced individual school districts to call off classes and cancel activities including sports.
Among those was the boys basketball team at San Francisco's Lincoln High, who lost an emotional appeal earlier this week to school officials to reverse a decision that eventually forced them to forfeit its semifinal game on Tuesday night.
On Monday, Archbishop Riordan of San Francisco forfeited its basketball semifinal playoff game against 4th-seeded De La Salle because of canceled activities following word a student's parents tested positive.
Last week, the Elk Grove Unified School District in Sacramento County canceled school activities over the coronavirus, which meant the No. 1-seeded Sheldon High boys basketball team was forced to forfeit their semifinal game against Dublin High.
And the private Menlo School in Atherton forfeited its Division 1 girls basketball quarterfinal game after all activities were canceled over a staff member having contact with a coronavirus patient.
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