The Season That Took A Turn

New Precautions Affect The Boy’s Basketball Season

Nicole VanGilder and Victoria Filippi

Amongst the pandemic, the boys’ basketball team experienced a set of challenges contrary to those of the past. The typical junior varsity and varsity teams united this season to create a larger, and much more diverse roster.

Yet one of the most prevalent difficulties within the new group is their diminished sense of spirit. The thrill and unity, that had been engraved into each member and their respective team seemed to dissipate after they fashioned together.

“At first it didn’t really feel like it would make much of a difference when the JV team and Varsity team came together, but when we started playing there were guys who didn’t have a lot of experience playing at the varsity level, or any at all.”

— Sophomore, Isaiah Smith

However, with a strikingly short season and scarce competition, the newly found team had little time to readjust.

“So, we had to adjust as a team, but I do not think it has affected the team negatively. I think it was for the better because we needed more guys to play varsity and plus, we needed more talent to compete with teams with a higher skill level,” Smith followed.

High schools across the nation have been experiencing seasonal shortages for their sports teams. The lack of games is due in part to counties suspending their usual after-school activities in attempts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Despite this, the Four Corners athletics group has proceeded with its recreational sports activities because Osceola County decided not to suspend the student’s sports season. Comparatively, Polk County canceled all of their sports-regulated events midway into the season because of a spike of positive coronavirus cases, which infected team members in various schools.

“It is a wonderful thing that we are able to play in games, because we get to play basketball, and do what we love to do. Although it sucks for other counties, it was honestly a blessing because we had a chance to have fun,” senior, Jaonie Delacruz said.

Although the team enjoyed their season, the team endured the newly implemented safety protocols during games and practice. Team members on the sideline or bench usually use this time to bond with other members or even strategize. Social distancing however has prevented students from close communication hindering their ability to interact.

“It’s new and different, it’s a unique team. It has gotten better because some of the younger players are practicing and learning advanced things. The team had a rough start, but we can come back from it,” senior, Domonic Bravo said.

Other restrictions that were executed to minimize the team’s risk of exposure included separating refreshments so that teammates would not share, wearing a make while benched or sidelined, and most notably maintaining six feet from one another when not participating on the court. Coaches were also instructed to follow these procedures to prevent any contamination within the team.

“Having players maintain a distance while sitting on the bench, not sharing water bottles, and having players wear masks while on the bench, is always the league’s way of trying to reduce transmission risk,” Coach, Jonathan Lonas said.

As mentioned, the safety measures and changes also extended to the coaches of the basketball team. Coach Lonas and Coach Jeremiah Brown began coaching together in response to the larger formation earlier in the season. As students pursued virtual learning, applicants for the basketball team dwindled limiting the selection of players the coaches had to work with.

“This year’s team also did not have the synergy and the camaraderie that last year’s team had which is why this season did not go how we wanted it to. I wouldn’t change anything due to the simple fact that I believe we put the guys in situations where they can be successful, and we just couldn’t figure it out as a unit,” Lonas said.

While the team selection was limited, and many members were just introduced to the group this year, players shared a string of benefits from the roster change. Particularly, the players in the team bonded with new students and were introduced to various playing styles. As the season progressed, the members learned to cooperate and communicate with one another.

“I think it was for the better because we needed more guys to play varsity. Plus, we needed more talent to compete with other teams with a higher skill level,” Smith, said.