Veterans Memorial Coliseum is slated to host the 2A and 3A semifinal and championship state basketball games this year.
Prescott still to host 1A tournament, 2A early-round games, and 3A quarterfinals
By Jon Johnson
PHOENIX – Boys and girls 2A and 3A state championship basketball games will be played at Veterans Memorial Coliseum this year.
That is the report from the Arizona Republic’s Richard Obert, who quoted Arizona Interscholastic Association Executive Director David Hines for his article.
On Friday, AIA Sports Information Coordinator Seth Polansky confirmed the decision through an email and also quoted Hines.
“We’re really excited for our student-athletes to have the opportunity to culminate their seasons at one of the most iconic venues in the Valley,” said Executive Director David Hines. “With some of the improvements being made it is sure to be an experience everyone will remember. And we also appreciate the efforts of the folks at the Findley Toyota Center and Arizona State for their continued support of high school championships. It’s always a first-class event when we’re there.”
Last year, the AIA had a debacle when a severe winter storm hit the Prescott area and schools and fans battled the elements while they attempted to make it to tournament venues. The semifinal game between Thatcher and Scottsdale Christian was eventually moved to a high school in Phoenix.
While the semifinal and championship games for 2A and 3A will be played at the Coliseum, early-round games are still scheduled for the Prescott area for Feb. 21 and 22 for 2A and quarterfinal matchups for 3A on Feb. 25, as well as the entire 1A tournament from Feb. 20 – 22.
It could be a nice homecoming for the Pima Roughriders, who won the Class C State Championship at the Coliseum in 1966 and 1969 by beating the Fort Thomas Apaches. The Apaches won the championship there in 1967 by edging out Camp Verde 64-63, but since they are in 1A they would play in the Prescott area for their tournament this year.
The 2A and 3A semifinals and finals are scheduled to be played Feb. 28 and 29, respectively.
The Coliseum has been pretty empty since the Phoenix Suns moved to America West Arena, now dubbed Talking Stick Resort Arena. The Coliseum will also be the home for the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury during the 2020 season, as Talking Stick undergoes renovation.
Veterans Memorial Coliseum is a 14,870-seat multi-purpose indoor arena located at the Arizona State Fairgrounds at 1826 W. McDowell Road. It formerly hosted the Phoenix Suns from 1968 – 1992 and is also utilized as a music venue.