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DIAA cancels state high school basketball tournaments after Gov. John Carney declares state of emergency

Keeley Ciszkowski of St. Elizabeth faces some traffic on her way to the hoop. She led all scorers with 18. (The Dialog/Mike Lang)

The Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association canceled this year’s girls and boys basketball state tournaments Thursday afternoon after Gov. John Carney declared a state of emergency in response to the threat posed by the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19.

None of the eight remaining teams, which include the St. Elizabeth girls team, will be declared the champion. Instead, the Vikings, who were seeded fifth among the 24 teams in the bracket, and the other seven teams will receive a final four trophy.

St. Elizabeth had been scheduled to play at top-seeded Conrad on Friday night in one girls semifinal. The other was No. 3 Sanford at No. 2 Cape Henlopen. On the boys’ side, St. Andrew’s was scheduled to visit Dover, and Sanford would have hosted Appoquinimink.

The cancellation marks the latest development in a week that had been full of unprecedented changes. Originally, the semifinals and final games for the girls and boys, and for the unified teams, were to be played at the Bob Carpenter Center. The University of Delaware informed the DIAA on Tuesday that the games could remain with no spectators, and the DIAA decided to move and reschedule the contests.

Those four games were set for last night at campus sites, but as the landscape changed, they were once again postponed. The latest proposal, issued late this morning, had the games on the campus of the higher seed, but with a limited number of spectators allowed to attend.

For St. Elizabeth, the cancellation means the Vikings will end the season with a record of 16-5. They lost just one of their final 14 games after the return of senior Ber’Nyah Mayo, who missed the first seven games of the season while recovering from a knee injury. Mayo will be playing for Massachusetts next year in the Division I Atlantic 10 Conference.

Other seniors on the Vikings who will not have a chance to play for the state’s top prize are Juliann McCarron, Ashley Campbell, Keeley Ciszkowski and Arianna Henry.

The state of emergency takes effect on Friday at 8 a.m. Among its provisions is an advisory against any non-essential public gatherings of more than 100 people. Schools are not mandated to close, and there are no driving retrictions.