The PIAA met via conference call Thursday morning to decided what to do with 96 second-round state boys and girls basketball games later that day due to the effects of Winter Storm Stella.
GAR boys coach Jerry Altavilla pretty much knew his team’s fate before the PIAA announced 16 postponements a few hours later. GAR along with the Nanticoke and Holy Redeemer boys and girls teams had their games nixed and moved to Friday. They will be at the same times and sites.
“I really didn’t think we would (play),” Altavilla said. “I had driven by GAR yesterday afternoon and there was two feet of snow piled up around the school. Lehigh Street was really bad. It was rough out.”
GAR is located in a residential area of the Heights section of Wilkes-Barre. The narrow streets made snow removal difficult after two feet of snow fell Tuesday. The Grenadiers last practiced on Monday for a game originally scheduled for Wednesday against District 12 fourth seed West Philadelphia.
Altavilla hopes the team can get together a little earlier than planned Friday before leaving for their 5 p.m. game at Bethlehem Liberty High School.
“Who knows how many days (West Philadelphia) got into the gym,” Altavilla said. “You just don’t know. I’m curious about how the kids will react to it. I can’t get a vibe on it. I don’t know if they’ll be ready when they get to the gym or be a little rusty. I know they are driving me crazy to get in there.”
The 16 postponements involved teams from District 2, District 4 (Central PA) and District 11 (Poconos) — area that were hit hard by the storm.
District 2 Class 4A runner-up GAR will be the opener of a tripleheader at Bethlehem Liberty. D2-3A champion Holy Redeemer plays D12 champion Neumann-Goretti, winners of six of the last seven 3A state titles, at 6:30 p.m. D2-3A runner-up Mid Valley closes the night with an 8 p.m. game against D1 champion Valley Forge.
The Nanticoke girls and boys teams will be part of a tripleheader at Parkland in Allentown. The D2-4A champion Trojanettes play D1 second seed Gwynedd Mercy at 5 p.m. The Nanticoke boys, the D2-4A third seed, face D12 runner-up Conwell-Egan at 6:30 p.m.
In a Class 5A boys game at 8 p.m. at Parkland, D2 champion Abington Heights plays D12 champion Martin Luther King.
The D2-3A champion Holy Redeemer girls will play D4 champion Mount Carmel at 8 p.m. Friday at Hazleton Area as part of a revised tripleheader.
Several other District 2 teams, all from the Lackawanna League, had their games moved to Friday. The biggest change was with D2-4A champion Scranton Prep, which is playing D12 champion Imhotep Charter at 7:30 p.m. at Quakertown High School. Both the site and time changed from the original PIAA schedule.
Several sources reported Wednesday night that Prep wouldn’t play Thursday before the PIAA made a formal announcement. The game will be televised on WQMY.
Reach John Erzar at 570-991-6394 or on Twitter @TLJohnErzar