Why SC’s high school basketball championship location is staying put for 2023

Sam Wolfe/Special To The State

The South Carolina High School League basketball championships will be staying in Aiken after all.

The games, set for March 2-4, will be held at the USC Aiken Convocation Center for the third straight year. USC Aiken and Winthrop were the only two sites to put in bids to host this year’s games.

At last month’s executive committee meeting, SCHSL commissioner Jerome Singleton said the championship games might be headed to Winthrop University in Rock Hill. But Singleton said on Tuesday that dates with Winthrop didn’t work out.

“Winthrop had some things that didn’t match up, but they were a viable option,” Singleton told The State.

One of the reasons for a possible change was Winthrop has a bigger capacity than USC Aiken. The Winthrop Coliseum, which was built in 1982, seats 6,100. The USC Aiken Convocation Center seats 3,600.

“USC Aiken is a very attractive venue and (has) intimate seating and lends to a great atmosphere for a championship final,” Singleton said last month. “The concern, as it continues to grow as we anticipate, is seating capacity. ... Winthrop University gives an opportunity to make things better.”

Before USC Aiken’s Convocation Center hosted the games the previous two seasons, the games were held for years at the University of South Carolina’s Colonial Life Arena. USC was unable to put in a bid to host in Columbia this year because the men’s basketball team has a home game against Georgia on March 4.

“We appreciate USC Aiken willing to work with us and adjust their schedule for us,” Singleton said. “We understand there are a lot of challenges on their part. But we appreciate them working with us. They have been good partners and there are so many things in their favor.”

The upper and lower state championships will be at Bob Jones University in Greenville, while the lower state championship will be at the Florence Center. Dates for those semifinal games are Feb. 24-25 and 27.

The state playoffs begin on Feb. 14.

SCHSL Basketball Playoffs

Dates and locations for SCHSL basketball state semifinals and championships

Upper State Championships at Bob Jones

Feb 24

Class 2A and 4A

Feb 25

Class A and 3A

Feb. 27

Class 5A

Lower State Championships at Florence Center

Feb 24

Class 2A and 4A boys and girls

Feb 25

Class A and 3A boys and girls

Feb. 27

Class 5A boys and girls

State Championships at USC Aiken

March 2

Class 4A boys and girls

March 3

Class 2A and 3A boys and girls

March 4

Class A and 5A boys and girls