Calvin hosts MHSAA girls basketball championship


Photo by Josh Parks.

Updated: 3/17/18, 12:28 p.m.

Calvin College is hosting the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) Girls Basketball Semifinals and Finals this weekend.

The event will take place in the Van Noord Arena from Thursday, March 15, to Saturday, March 17. Games are scheduled for noon, 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Thursday and Friday. Between 2,500 and 4,500 spectators are expected for each game.

According to event services lots 1 through 6, the lots located behind the Science Building and Spoelhof Center, will be blocked off for Calvin students and faculty during the majority of classes, so guests will need to park elsewhere for the afternoon games on Thursday and Friday. During the evening games at 5:30 p.m., parking will no longer be reserved and will be open to anyone.

In the past, the MHSAA girls basketball final tournament had been held at Michigan State University’s Breslin Center. However, according to John Johnson, director of broadcast properties for the MHSAA, MSU wanted to open the weekend up for potential women’s basketball NCAA tournament home games.

The boys basketball finals are still being held at the Breslin Center, since according to Johnson, the boys finals have “minimum attendance requirements and the Breslin Center is the only venue available to us.

The Breslin Center capacity is 15,000, while the Van Noord Arena capacity is 4,500 seats.

The MHSAA sent out bids to colleges interested in hosting the championship, and in early 2017 Calvin won the bid to host both the 2018 and 2019 girls basketball state championships. Calvin has been planning for this event since the contract was signed. Planning has consisted of marketing and promotional efforts, food services, ticket creation and printing, security, game logistics and recruiting volunteers.

“This is such a great opportunity because most of these high schools have never even heard of the Calvin College,” said Juli Hega, Calvin’s director of event services. “It is a great opportunity to bring high schoolers onto [our] campus to get them exposed to the college … for potential enrollment, for visitor exposure, to be good stewards to the community by opening up our resources.”

The MHSAA is also enthusiastic about coming to Calvin for the girls basketball championship tournament.

Johnson said the schools are excited to play “on a court that has hosted national championships and [in] a right-sized building that should provide an electric atmosphere for everyone.”

Hega encouraged students to attend the basketball games if they’re staying close to campus over spring break. If students are interested in volunteering on Saturday, they may contact event services at [email protected].