UIL State Basketball Tournament underway in SA

Tournament not in Austin for first time in 80 years

SAN ANTONIO – For the first time in 80 years, the UIL State Basketball Tournament is not being held in Austin.

Instead, the Alamodome is playing host to both the boys and girls high school basketball championships this weekend.

"We were excited about it being in San Antonio. (It's) something new for us," said Jeanie Birkenfeld, principal of Nazareth High School, a 1A school from the panhandle.

Nazareth has been to the tournament in Austin 23 previous times.

Fans from their semifinal matchup, D'Hanis, were equally as excited about the tournament coming to San Antonio. The district shut down the school so students could attend Thursday's game.

"Had that been in Austin, we never would have had that opportunity," said Deena McCollum, whose daughter plays for the D'Hanis Cowgirls.

The bigger venue didn't seem to bother the teams once the game tipped off.

"Personally, I thought it was a pretty good set up," Nazareth head coach Eric Schilling said. "I thought it felt like a state tournament. That was something I was kind of worried about coming in."

Even though D'Hanis lost 61-18 Thursday, their coach still enjoyed the tournament's move to San Antonio.

"Honestly, it's a great atmosphere. We enjoyed it. I love the way it's set up," D'Hanis head coach Fred McCollum said.  

He also gave the city a thumbs up for the future.

"We're excited to be in San Antonio and hope it stays for a long time," McCollum said.

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