Conflict moves finals to Clemson in 2008

COLUMBIA -- A scheduling conflict caused the S.C. High School League to shift the Upper State boys and girls basketball finals to Clemson in 2008.

The two-day, eight-game event drew around 11,000 fans to Greenville's Bi-Lo Center last February, when four boys and four girls teams earned spots in the following weekend's state championship games at the Colonial Center.

But the Bassmasters fishing tournament has the Bi-Lo Center locked up on that weekend this February. So the S.C. High School League closed a deal with Clemson to hold the games on Feb. 22-23.

League commissioner Jerome Singleton said the plan is to return to the Bi-Lo Center in 2009.

"This is for one year only," Singleton said Monday.

The Lower State games were played at various neutral sites last February, just as they have been for years, due to the lack of an available, large facility. Singleton is in talks with North Charleston Coliseum, The Citadel and the College of Charleston about using their facilities this February.

Nothing has been finalized, however, because the North Charleston Coliseum is unavailable on Feb. 22 because of a previously scheduled event. The arena is clear for the six games on Feb. 23, so Singleton is seeking a place for the Class AAAA games on Feb. 22.

"We're hoping," Singleton said.

• WRESTLING FINALS TO MIDLANDS: The state wrestling individual championships, scheduled for Feb. 22-23, will either be held at Carolina Coliseum or three Columbia-area high schools.

Irmo (Class AAAA), Airport (Class AAA) and Gilbert (Classes AA-A) have offered to host the championship matches. But if a deal can be worked out, all of the matches would be held at Carolina Coliseum.

• REALIGNMENT UPDATE: The SCHSL is a few weeks away from finalizing the realignment plan for 2008-10.

A preliminary plan has already been sent to the schools and any appeals will be heard Aug. 30. After the league's executive committee rules on those appeals, the plan will be completed a few days later, Singleton said.

Among Midlands teams, Lower Richland's move down to Class AAA is the most notable item. According to the 135-day enrollment totals from last spring, Lower Richland is the third-largest school in Class AAA with 1,440 students.

Also in Class AAA, Kershaw County rivals Camden and Lugoff-Elgin are scheduled to play in different regions.