Bay Port's Abel: 'It was truly heartbreaking' to miss the state tournament

Bay Port's guard Alaina Abel said it was heartbreaking to not play in the state tournament. (Doug Ritchay/WLUK)

SUAMICO (WLUK) -- On the day she was expecting to get ready for her team's Division 1 state semifinal basketball game, Bay Port's Alaina Abel was left talking about what could have been.

The Pirates were supposed to return to state after winning the title last season and the build-up to a possible repeat was growing.

Then the state tournament was canceled Thursday night after the Division 3 and 4 teams played due to concerns about the coronavirus.

Poof! Just like the season was over and for Abel and her teammates it was tough to take.

"It was truly heartbreaking and devastating, especially our senior class," she said. "We didn't now exactly when our last game was. It was blindsiding in a way and I haven't coped with it yet."

Friday, Abel and her teammates visited an empty Resch Center and met their semifinal opponent, Divine Savior Holy Angels, and they took pictures together and played a fake game. It was hardly what either team wanted.

The night before Bay Port practiced for the last time and was ready to start its quest for back-to-back state titles.

"We were literally going to state, we had practiced at nine o'clock at night and we were like, 'Tomorrow morning we're going to wake up and go to the Resch Center and play,'" the senior guard said. "Literally, in an hour, it was taken away from us."

Bay Port was waiting for the final Division 4 game to end Thursday so it could find out if the tournament would continue Friday. After the WIAA Board of Control met, it decided the tournament was over and so was Bay Port's dream.

"Winning state last year was so awesome, but not being able to go back-to-back is kind of defeating, kind of knowing we weren't there and did have the opportunity so it kind of stinks that we were cheated," Abel said. "Knowing for us what the atmosphere was last year at the Resch and how crazy it was and how awesome the community was, it's sad to think other teams will never get to experience that.

"Selfishly, it's also sad to know we won't get that again as seniors."

Strangely enough, Bay Port was one of 16 girls teams to end its season with a postseason win -- four teams won state semifinals and 12 teams won a sectional title but never played at state. Ending the season on a win is usually good, but was it this time?

"We ended our season on a win but it wasn't even the state title," Abel said. "It's hard to understand and hard to comprehend in general because we did end on a win. Are we supposed to be happy? Are we supposed to be sad? It's just mixed emotions."

Follow Doug Ritchay on Twitter @dougritchay