High School girls, coaches react to basketball tournament move

High School girls, coaches react to basketball tournament move

Some high school girls, their families and coaches have differing reactions to the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association’s decision on Tuesday to move the state girls’ basketball tournament to Green Bay while keeping the boys tourney in Madison.

On a sunny day in Lake Mills, it’s tough to find much to be upset about. However, those informally polled on Tuesday afternoon responded with a variety of opinions. Some said that they think the move is far from the end of the world while others said they’re hoping to see real benefits.

As high school runners speed by, some parents said that they want the WIAA to slow down.

“I think it’s wrong,” said parent Jodi Odegaard. “It’s been a tradition that the boys and girls state basketball tournaments are in Madison, and I think that’s really where they need to stay. I think they just need to work it out.”

But, the change doesn’t have everyone upset.

“Personally, I don’t think it’s a big deal,” said athlete Jessica Powers.

Despite her own feelings, Powers, who also played basketball at Lake Mills, said that can see why some people might be angry.

“We always have the issue with our boys getting more attention here, and so that’s the only thing I think people would be upset with. (Are) the boys getting more attention because it’s closer?”

Pat Hauser, who served as the girls basketball ball coach at Lake Mills for 19 years, said he thinks athletes and their parents will ultimately prefer the feel of the smaller Resch Center in Green Bay to the large Kohl Center in Madison.

“When I was coaching, oftentimes they asked what the coaches wanted and we wanted a smaller venue,” Hauser said. “What does it seat? (About) 17,000 people? And at a big turnout for a girls game there’s 5,000. So, it’s pretty quiet. You don’t feel the excitement.”

VIDEO: High School girls, coaches react to basketball tournament move

Hauser said he is excited for the new opportunities the move affords.

“I think it’s going to be a lot more exciting,” he said. “You’re going to hear the fans more. I think the players will feel the crowd on top of them more.”

One parent said that the WIAA can and should do more to raise attendance at the girls games, WISC-TV reported.

Some said that they worry the move sends a message that the girls games are less important than the boys.