Both the NBA and NHL seasons have been halted, there will be no NASCAR events for a few weeks, and both minor and major league baseball is at risk. So are golf tournaments, tennis tournaments and more.

All in the fear of spreading the COVID-19 virus.

Even one of America’s favorite pastimes with tremendous numbers of followers ­– the NCAA tournaments – have been scrubbed for the season. 

Both the men’s and the women’s tournaments, along with the NIT.

Last week the Big 10 and Big 12 tournaments were abruptly canceled, all in the name of virus containment.

Initially, experts were recommending gatherings of no more than 250 people at events. That quickly changed.

It also was evident late last week during the boys’ state basketball tournament. All week long, regular crowds were allowed into Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines to view the boys’ basketball playoff games, just one week after the girls’ tournament.

Thursday’s boys’ games were played as scheduled, without spectator restriction. That changed for Friday’s games.

“Only team members, game officials, essential tournament workers, Iowa Events Center staff, limited credentialed media, and select school spectators will be allowed inside the facility,” the Iowa High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) announced in preparation for Friday’s championship boys’ basketball games. 

“Those spectators will be asked to leave the facility once their game is complete.”

On Friday, when it came time for the Class 1-A, 2-A, 3-A, and 4-A championship games, only 100 tickets were alloted to each school. 

Included in that count of 100 tickets were the players of each team, the coaches and staff, with fans being allowed to snap up the remaining few tickets.

“The Iowa High School Athletic Association’s 2020 State Basketball Tournament will play Friday’s games with spectator restrictions due to increasing concern of the spread and impact of novel coronavirus (COVID-19),” the IHSAA stated in a memo to basketball enthusiasts.

And Friday’s final round was macabre. 

Only tiny handfuls of fans were allowed to cheer on their teams.

In to see the game, and then out of Wells Fargo Arena.

In Class 1-A, Wapsie Valley of Fairbank beat Algona Garrigan, 65-53. Algona Garrigan led at halftime, 29-26, after going on a second-quarter 17-10 run.

Two Garrigan players – senior Marcus Plathe and Junior Anglo Winkel – combined for 31 points.

Four Wapsie Valley players scored in double figures with senior Kiks Rosengarten pacing the Golden Bears, and leading all scorers with 21 points. 

Junior Blayde Bellis added 16 points, while sophomore Gunner Meyer and junior Kobe Risse combined for 23 points.

Wapsie Valley went on a second-half run to catch up by the end of the third quarter, and then closed out the game with a 23-15 fourth-quarter rally.

It was the second time n as many weeks that Algona Garrigan was Class 1-A runner-up at the state basketball tournament: The girls’ tournament the week previous, and then again on Friday at the boys tournament.

The Class 1-A all-tournament team included (captain) Angelo Winkel and John Joyce of Algona Garrigan. Both Wapsie Valley’s Kiks Rosengarten and Gunner Meyer also made the 1-A tournament squad, as did Montezuma Trey Shearer.

In Class 2-A, unbeaten North Linn of Troy Mills was upset by Boyden-Hull, 64-51, in a rematch of last year’s Class 2-A championship game, turning the tables on the North Linn Lynx.

The Boyden-Hull Comets finished 24-3 while North Linn finished its season 26-1 with its loss in the championship game.

North Linn’s Austin Miller finished leading all scorers with 23 points while Austin Hilmer finished with a dozen points.

Boyden-Hull led the entire game, turning a 13-12 first quarter lead into a 26-20 halftime lead, and then taking a 47-31 lead after three quarters.

For Boyden-Hull, three players scored in double figures with Andrew Frick and Tanner Te Slass (last year’s leading scorer for the Comets in the championship loss) combined for 43 points. Keyton Moser added 13 points for Boyden-Hull.

Boydel-Hull had three players on the Class 2-A All-tournament team: Keyton Moser, Marcus Kelderman and Tanner Te Slaa. North Linn had both Austin Hilmer and Austin Miller on the all-tourney team, with Austin Miller named team captain.

In Class 3-A, Norwalk edged Sgt. Bluff-Luton 70-68. Norwalk finished 24-3 while Sgt. Bluff was 16-11 overall.

Norwalk’s Bowen Born, arguably among the best players in the state, scored 23 points for the Warriors. Grant Larson and Tyler Johnson combined for 30 points as Norwalk pulled away for the first three quarter, and then held of a fourth-quarter Sergeant Bluff surge.

Both Jake Layman and Daniel Wright each scored 21 points for Sgt. Bluff, while Majok Majouk added 14 points.

Norwalk took a 70-66 lead with 34 second remaining after Jake Layman hit a free throw attempt for the Warriors.

Sgt. Bluff’s Jacob Imming missed a three-point shot with 3 seconds remaining with Sgt. Bluff’s Nick Mulling coming up with the rebound. Mulling also missed a three-point shot.

Sgt. Bluff’s Majok Majouk somehow came up with the rebound but missed a tip-in with four seconds left in the game. The rebound came down and glanced off of Imming but Imming grabbed it back and put it in, but Norwalk held on to the two-point 70-68 victory.

The Class 3-A All-Tournament team included both Tyler Johnson and Bowen Born of Norwalk, with Born named team captain. Also on the tournament team was Tyler Schrepfer of Clear Creek/Amana, Conner Drew of Ballard of Huxley and Daniel Wright of Sgt. Bluff-Luton.

Clear Creek/Amana won the Class 3-A Consolation game, defeating Ballard of Huxley in OT, 76-73. 

Ballard’s Conner Drew had 14 points and six assists in that game while Clear Creek’s Tyler Schrepfer had 12 points.

In Friday night’s Class 4-A championship, Ankeny (21-5) defeated Waukee (23-3), 78-70, leading the entire game in a game which Ankeny led most of the way.

Ankeny took a 16-13 first quarter lead and then took a 33-24 lead into halftime. Ankeny held Waukee to seven points in the third quarter while scoring 16 points of their own.

Waukee outscored Ankeny by ten points in the final quarter, 39-29, but could never completely close the gap. 

Ankeny had five players score in double figures. Both Braxton Bayless and Jordan Kumm scored 16 points apiece while Jaxon Smith had 14 points, Ryan Brandell added 13 points and Nolan Otten scored 12 points.

For Waukee, Payton Sandfort led all scorers with 23 pints while Tucker DeVries had 19 points and Pryce Sandfort has 112 points.

Braxton Bayless of Ankeny was named the Class 4-A All-Tournament team captain while Ankeny’s Cody McCullough also made the all-tourney team. Also on the squad were both Tucker DeVries and Payton Sandfort of Waukee as well as Landon Wolf of Cedar Falls.

Reporter at the Winterset Madisonian. He has also been the managing editor at the Madisonian.