Ready or not, high school basketball practices for both boys and girls are scheduled to begin next Monday, Dec. 7. It’s fitting that “Pearl Harbor Day” will mark the occasion because most folks think there will be surprises to deal with due to the pandemic.
As of now the teams will be practicing under “Phase 2” guidelines. Each player must have their own basketball and there’s no sharing or team play. Ethan Humphries is a first year coach at James River and that makes things especially tough as he gets to know his new team.
“We still plan to have our first day of tryouts on Monday, Dec. 7” said Humphries. “Obviously, we will have to follow the Health District’s plan for us, which to my understanding they will review the numbers each week and let us know what phase we are in. Right now we are in Phase 2, meaning we cannot share equipment and must maintain social distancing during workouts. I suspect that will be the case next week as well when we officially start so it will probably look a lot different than normal but, we will work to make the situation we are presented with.”
The River boys are scheduled to open December 21 at Glenvar. The girls open at home that night against the Highlanders if all goes according to plan. E.D. Schechterly is River’s girls coach and he’s dealing with the rules as best he can.
“Right now we are having to use one ball per player and no passing to another player, so it’s really the basics of basketball,” he said. “Dribbling, shooting and a lot of running. We were in Phase 3 in which you could share a ball, make passes but not make any contact with another player, but now it’s back to Phase 2.
“If we do get to start practice Monday, I think the most important thing is to make sure the girls are not running a temperature when they show up. We will make sure the basketballs are sanitized several times during practice and also make sure no one drinks after someone else.
“This will be a crazy season. First, not knowing if we play and if so when will we play and where at? Thank goodness we don’t have to do like the colleges and keep a bag packed and be ready to travel somewhere.”
In Daleville, the Cavaliers have been doing much of the same. LB’s girls will begin defense of their state championship on December 21 with a home game against Salem.
“As of now, it’s still a go,” said coach Renee Favaro regarding Monday’s opening day of practice. “Our area was moved back to the VHSL Phase 2 guidelines on Nov 20 until further notice. What this means is that we cannot share a ball anymore. We had been able to do that as long as we stayed 10 feet apart. Therefore, players will be working out and trying out in their own 10-foot spaces with their own balls. It limits us in what we can do tremendously, and basically just means we can do skill work and possibly some classroom and film sessions.”
Like Favaro, Andrew Hart is beginning his second season as LB coach and it’s a new experience for everyone. The boys open at Salem on December 21.
“We’re still planning to begin official tryouts on Monday,” said Hart. “We have many guidelines at this point that we have to work around to find the best way to improve.”
Practices for wrestling, swimming, sideline cheering and indoor track are scheduled to begin on December 14.