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State title games canceled

UPDATE: The games have been canceled entirely. Read the latest update here.

Earlier: The boys’ basketball teams from Lakeland and King’s Fork high schools will play for their respective state championships Friday in a mostly empty arena.

The Virginia High School League has elected to allow state championship games at Virginia Commonwealth University to go on with just immediate family of the players and essential personnel in attendance.

The move was made in response to the coronavirus pandemic. A common recommendation from experts has been to limit large gatherings of people, particularly indoors.

“The VHSL continues to assess the impact of COVID-19 and has had continued discussions with public health officials and key stakeholders,” VHSL Executive Director Dr. John W. “Billy” Haun said. “Based on that advice we have made the decision to conduct Friday and Saturday games to only allow immediate family attendance, with only essential tournament staff and credentialed media present.

“While we understand how disappointing this is for all fans of our teams, our decision is based on discussion we have had on how COVID-19 is progressing in the Commonwealth. We feel this decision is in the best interest of public health, including that of, most importantly, our student-athletes, coaches, administrators, families and fans.”

King’s Fork is planning to give refunds for tickets bought at the school and is encouraging others to seek refunds from online sources they may have purchased from.

“If you have tickets that you purchased at King’s Fork HS, you will need to see our bookkeeper, Ms. Banks-Tynes for a refund,” the school posted on its Facebook page. “If you have tickets that you purchased from an online source, you will need to apply for a refund from that source. If you arrive at the Siegel Center, even if you have a ticket, you will not be admitted.”

There was no word yet on refunds for Lakeland tickets; please check back later for an update.

Another outlet for fans to see the game will be through the NFHS network broadcast. It costs $10.99 monthly with the ability to cancel any time.