4A District 6 boys basketball championship game

Idaho Falls players and fans celebrate the Tigers defeating Hillcrest 53-43 during the 4A District 6 boys basketball championship game at Bonneville High School.

There was disappointment for two area high schools on Tuesday after the board of directors for the Idaho High School Activities Association denied petitions for Idaho Falls and Shelley High in the reclassification process.

Idaho Falls, whose enrollment topped the 1,280 requirement for 4A, had appealed to stay in 4A, but it was rejected and the Tigers will be in 5A next season. Idaho Falls joins Highland, Rigby, Madison and Thunder Ridge in the 5A District 5-6 conference next year.

Shelley, which has struggled in 4A since moving up from 3A for the 2018-19 school year, had petitioned to move back down to 3A, but was also denied.

“I was hoping that we would be able to stay at the 4A level,” Idaho Falls athletic director Pat Lloyd said, adding that the I.F. enrollment was over by 21 students. “It makes our job more difficult, but we have full confidence in our coaching staffs and kids at I.F.”

The Tigers have won state titles in boys basketball, boys cross-country (two) girls swimming, and also placed second in the state 4A baseball and softball tournaments since joining 4A in the 2016-17 school year.

Wade Messick, athletic director at Shelley, said he could see the writing on the wall as the board handed down its decisions.

“Last year kind of surprised us,” Messick said of the teams’ struggles.

This season the Russets have typically been at the bottom of the 4A District 6 standings for most of their sports.

“It it what it is,” Messick said. “We’ll still tackle it.”

Allan Steele is Sports Editor of the Post Register. Reach him at 208 542-6772 and follow on Twitter at asteele12000