With the new league merger last fall came a spark of an idea for revamping the postseason. The CSAA initiated a new, four-team end of the year tournament the week before the MHSAA District rounds.
According to head coach Jessica Haist, the tournament was a large success in its debut.
“The idea behind the CSAA end of the year tournament is strong,” Haist said. “It allows teams to
compete against similar level teams right before the state tournament begins and also allows a regular season champion and a tournament champion, which is similar to the college conference tournaments.”
This year, the Big Rapids girls and boys teams swept the inaugural tournament titles. The girls took down Central Montcalm in the semifinal round before defeating Kent City 46-44 in the snow day Saturday rescheduled championship game.
For the boys team, the Cardinals also beat the Eagles in the semi-final before winning the title game
over Newaygo 60-45. Both teams finished the season with unblemished conference records to capture the regular season titles as well.
"There was a lot of excitement surrounding the tournament for players, fans, and coaches,” Big Rapids Athletic Director Dawn Thompson said. “The traveling trophy and t-shirts add a nice touch and we had great crowds for the championship games.”
Based on feedback from the players and coaches, the tournament will be seeking some improvementfor the future. Some key elements being discussed include the number of teams and seeding structure.
"We have discussed tiebreakers for seeding as well as include 8 teams in the championship part of the bracket,” Thompson said.
Thompson also said these possible modifications will be discussed by the conference athletic directors during their monthly meetings.
According to Coach Haist, these possible changes will only bring more excitement for the tournament.
“We think that may help generate a bit more suspense for the tourney. Like anything new, we have to
work out some kinks, but overall, we are pleased with the concept and hope to see it become a bigger event in the future.”
For more local sports coverage, be sure to visit bigrapidsdailynews.com.