The state basketball tournament is returning to Macon next March after a one-year hiatus, the Georgia High School Association announced Thursday.
Four classifications will hold their title games March 7-8 at the Macon Centreplex while the other four classes will be played at Georgia Tech on March 9-10. The finals won’t return to the University of Georgia, which staged finals for the first time in 2017 since the 1940s.
The return to Macon is a chance at redemption for the Centreplex, which came under fire after the 2016 finals played there were contested with a faulty court setup. The goals were placed about one foot closer to the baseline than is regulation. The GHSA became aware of the mistake during the finals but let the games go on, which intensified the controversy.
The move out of Macon was historic. The Macon Coliseum, which is part of the Centreplex, has staged all or part of the state finals since 1969, shortly after the facility opened. Portions of the state tournament had been held at some Macon venue, including the City Auditorium, every year since 1942.
The Macon Centreplex is under new management, a company called Spectra, which has promised a new basketball floor and lightning and other improvements. Parking, another source of complaint from fans and participating schools, will now be free, according to the GHSA.
The GHSA also announced that the entire traditional state wrestling tournament will be contested at the Centreplex on Feb. 8-10. The dual state tournament already was slated there for Jan. 11-13.
The GHSA has not decided which classifications will play their basketball finals in Macon or at Tech.
“We are very excited about the ongoing improvements that are being made to the Macon Centreplex,” GHSA executive director Robin Hines said in a statement. “The enthusiasm level that Macon-Bibb County officials have shown in bringing back GHSA events has been phenomenal. We expect our fans to be very pleased with the renovations and to again enjoy their experiences at the Centreplex.”