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By March 18, the number of positive tests for the COVID-19 virus was eleven.

It had increased from just one, tied to a resident who had contracted the virus while staying in Maryland.

The sharp jump in virus statistics mean a sharp change in the state’s high school sports world, especially with winter basketball tournaments in full swing.

By March 13, Montana became one of the few states allowing prep sports to continue with no rules regarding fan attendance.

Thirty other states had canceled or postponed competition, including nearby North Dakota and Wyoming.

That didn’t last long.

Less than an hour later after the release saying the tournaments and sports would continue, the state basketball tournaments were canceled by the Montana High School Association, according to an announcement by the association’s executive director. The announcement came after four cases of the virus were confirmed in the state.

The MHSA announcement read, “the Montana High School Association has no choice but to cancel the remainder of our state basketball tournaments.”

The winners of the state semifinals would be considered to be co-champions, the statement added.

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock made an emergency declaration Thursday, citing the need to prepare for the spread of the virus.

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