GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan – Some of the state’s top high school basketball teams face off at Van Andel Arena this week.
Usually at the house of hockey or concerts on Wednesday, the high school girls graced the floor for the first competitive basketball game held in downtown Grand Rapids Arena since 2017.
Aside from a Harlem Globetrotters game in 2020, Van Andel’s last basketball game was back in the fall of 2017, when the Michigan State Spartans men’s basketball team faced off at University. of Georgia in a charity exhibition match.
“Van Andel really stepped in and gave us the opportunity to have another very large facility, and an opportunity to allow more fans to come into the games by being able to split some divisions,” said Geoff Kimmerly, MHSAA Communications Director, at FOX 17.
Baskets are rising in part because of COVID-19 restrictions.
The semi-finals are split between Grand Rapids and the Breslin Center at MSU to fit the games into a tight schedule.
And the Michigan High School Athletic Association says that because of the arena’s 10,000-person capacity, more family members and fans can watch from the stands.
“At most, there will be 750 fans in each game, and they will be spaced out and everything will be done to keep the surfaces clean and people to stay away from each other,” Kimmerly added.
It’s a socially left-behind cheering section for basketball’s long-awaited return to Van Andel.
“I think there is a lot of excitement. We are delighted, ”added Kimmerly.
The Division 2 and Division 4 men’s teams will play semi-final matches at the arena on Thursday.
To see highlights from Wednesday’s game, click here.
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