MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – The Georgia High School Association (GHSA) basketball state finals is coming back to Macon after a one-year absence, according to an announcement that GHSA and Spectra made Thursday.
The entire Traditional State Wrestling Tournament will return as well, across all classifications. For basketball, four classifications will hold their title games at the Centreplex. The other four classes, which haven’t been determined, will play at Georgia Tech.
GHSA moved the basketball finals in 2016 from Macon to Atlanta, after being disappointed in the Centreplex’s condition.
“You don’t know what you’ve got ’till it’s gone,” Mayor Robert Reichert said. “It’s important to these athletes and the families and the fans that come and support them, this does not need to be a second class operation.”
Spectra took over the Macon City Auditorium and Coliseum after GHSA moved the finals in 2016. The company has since made cosmetic upgrades and improved the locker rooms and cell service. Spectra promised GHSA it’d put in a new, state-of-the-art basketball court and sports lights.
“It’s going to go a long way once we get a new court,” Spectra General Manger, David Aiello said. “The answers are going to be made up a lot by that.”
Macon CVB President and CEO, Gary Wheat, says the economic impact of both sports playing their championships in Macon will result in an economic impact around $3 million. Aiello is inviting the pressure of keeping GHSA in Macon for many years to come.
“I’ve done the state basketball tournament in New York and Pennsylvania and we know what we’re dong, and the fans can be rest assured,” Aiello said.
Parking at the Centreplex for the GHSA wresting and basketball tournaments will be free. The basketball title games will be March 7 and 8, 2018. The Dual State Wrestling Tournament will be January 11-13, 2018. The Traditional Tournament will be February 8-10, 2018.
Journalist Michael Warrick