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School board informed Mid-Valley League hoop schedule to be changed next season

Mid-Valley League high school basketball will have a new look to it next year.

That was the message Sunnyside High School Principal Dennis Birr and Grizzly Athletic Director Bill Daley brought before the Sunnyside School Board Thursday night.

Daley told board members that at a Feb. 10 meeting in Prosser of principals and athletic directors, a new scheduling system for Mid-Valley League games was discussed.

The new scheduling, which will take effect next season, will have boys and girls varsity and junior varsity basketball teams playing all Mid-Valley League games on Tuesday and Friday nights. C-squad and freshman league basketball games will be played on Thursdays and Saturdays.

Daley said with Grandview leaving the Mid-Valley League next year, teams will only have 12 league games. Daley did tell the school board that Sunnyside's varsity teams will still have to play some Saturday contests because of its non-league schedule, as other schools that aren't in the Mid-Valley don't fall under this schedule.

Under the scheduling, the varsity girls and junior varsity boys basketball teams would play at 5:45 p.m. on both Tuesday and Friday nights for league games. The varsity boys and junior varsity girls would play at 7:15 p.m.

The C-squad and freshman basketball teams will hold the same Thursday night times for their games. Games times would be different on Saturdays with the C-squad girls and freshman boys playing at 1 p.m. The C-squad boys and freshman girls would follow at 2:30 p.m. The school district will not charge patrons to attend the Thursday and Saturday games, said Daley.

Daley said one of the reasons for the change was the extended amount of time students are gone on game nights. Under the old format, all four teams would play on the same night. For away games, students would leave around 2:30 p.m., depending on the game site, and not return until 11 p.m. or later.

"What we will see (under this schedule) is our kids getting home earlier," said Daley.

There are several benefits to this format, said Daley. First, the number of workers needed to stage a basketball game will be less. Currently, Daley said most schools are using nearly 20 people a night to put on a game.

Daley said the league will also be able to obtain better officials for Tuesday night games. There will also be more gym space available, as games will only be played in two gyms instead of three. Another benefit, said Daley, is that the varsity coach will have an opportunity to see all squads play.

The negative side to the proposal, pointed out Daley, is that not all coaches will be on the bench for each of the games. The C-squad and freshman coaches could conceivably be coaching four nights per week. Non-league scheduling and study time for class assignments could also be limited.

Daley said for the next two years, the Tuesday night scheduling will be a great benefit for Sunnyside, as the Grizzlies will have their two byes on that evening.

Birr added the new scheduling will also help free up some clogged gym space at the elementary schools. Currently, the basketball programs are interfering with after-school elementary programs such as 21st Century and Latchkey.

"We saw some side benefits coming out of this for our elementary kids," said Birr.

Birr added that other Mid-Valley schools are in favor of the new schedule because of a lack of gymnasium space to house all the games simultaneously.

Daley said there is a potential loss of revenue under the new scheduling system, but he is hoping the non-league games will make-up for any loss of monies. Daley told the board he will be keeping a close eye on the revenue situation.

"It will be a good change and it will be reviewed," said Daley.

. Mike Kantman can be contacted at (509) 837-4500, or email him at mkantman@eaglenewspapers.com

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