Tuesday night in Manning (Iowa) was supposed to feature an exciting doubleheader of unbeaten basketball teams.
All four teams are still undefeated — because the referees who were scheduled to officiate the games never showed up.
The Lawton-Bronson boys’ and girls’ teams got back on the bus and returned home — a nearly 100-mile trip — without getting a chance to play IKM-Manning.
“The (IKM) athletic director had a signed contract and he did his job, but the issue was that no one showed up,” Lawton-Bronson athletic director and boys’ coach Vince Johnson said. “This is my nightmare as an A.D. You have signed contracts and you confirm it, but it doesn’t come together.”
The girls’ game included Class 2-A’s No. 2 IKM-Manning and No. 4 Lawton-Bronson, with both teams boasting 8-0 records. The boys’ game had 2-A’s fourth-ranked IKM-Manning (8-0) against the 1-A Eagles (unranked but 7-0).
“I kind of have a routine where I wait for the national anthem of the girls’ game to get done before getting the guys ready, and I kept waiting and waiting and waiting,” IKM-Manning boys’ coach Keith Wagner said. “It’s definitely disappointing.”
The makeup date for Tuesday’s highly-anticipated Western Valley Conference games is scheduled for Jan. 10, with the site to be determined.
Roger Barr, director of officials with the Iowa High School Athletic Association, said individual schools are responsible for hiring and confirming game officials throughout the regular season.
“It’s very unfortunate that you have that type of thing happen,” Barr said. “But we don’t take over official scheduling until the postseason.”
IKM-Manning attempted to reach out to local officials, hoping someone might have been available, but the games were finally waved off after 45 minutes of waiting.
“The gym was going to be packed, and we had a pretty full house here,” Wagner said.
Fans admitted into Tuesday night’s games will be allowed into the makeup game at no charge.