Challenges abound, but high school basketball is back to its regular schedule in Washington

There are challenges, but high school basketball is making a comeback in Washington state.

The girls ‘and boys’ teams have started their season one week and can target the first week of March for the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association state tournaments. It’s a throwback to the traditional experience after the COVID-19 pandemic moved the 2020-21 season to spring and caused the playoffs to be canceled.

“The level of excitement in the girls is palpable,” said Eastlake Girls’ Coach Sara Goldie. “So, our first game (against Seattle Prep) was this ball of energy that resulted in more chaos than you would normally expect in a game. We had more turnovers and fouls than usual. C ‘was pretty funny, we survived and got a win in overtime.

Last season. the WIAA left the schedules to the various leagues in the state. The leagues have played truncated seasons to squeeze as many sports as possible into a small window. This season, schools are returning to the standard 20-game regular season schedule.

Garfield High’s girls and boys teams are among the top programs that would travel out of state for tournaments. The Metro League has refused to return to these types of winter vacation games, which are still being played, as new variants of COVID-19 are discovered and about a third of the U.S. population is still unvaccinated.

“We should have gone this year, but with COVID, I didn’t even ask,” Goldie said. “It was really nice to be back in the gym. But I have to remind myself and my staff, we talk about it a lot, even if things are back to normal, we have to be aware that it may not be the same for the children. We are adults, we understand the situation we have been through and know how to deal with it. But their worlds have been shaken, and we need to be aware of this in our interactions and expectations. “

The Metro League announced in November that it was limiting spectators to high school indoor games / contests while middle schools and K-8s were not allowed to attend basketball games.

Gym capacity is capped at 25-50% depending on the school, which can be difficult for the popular quad on Friday nights when Metro schools host junior and varsity games for girls and boys. There is always a charge for admission, proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test must be presented and everyone must wear masks except players and officials during the match.

The WIAA, based on guidelines provided by the Washington State Department of Health, requires schools to regularly test athletes who are not vaccinated. In some cases, it is the coaches who supervise and carry out the tests with their players.

“The atmosphere is the same; it’s just less crowded, ”Garfield boys coach JayVon Nickens said of Friday’s quad night at Cleveland High. “For the workers who work on the site, it’s difficult for them because there are so many people who want to come in, family members who want to be there to support their child or their parent.

“I take my hat off to people who work. The Metro League is doing its best. The WIAA is doing its best. It’s not just Seattle, it’s the country. … What can we do? We are subject to certain rules and try to follow them to the best of our ability to keep everyone safe. “

Hoops is a little different between leagues. The KingCo Conference and the Greater Spokane League are among those that don’t limit crowd capacity for most games. But the same rules apply in terms of testing if he is not vaccinated and masking anyway.

Freddie Rehkow coached the Central Valley High women’s basketball team to two Class 4A State Championships before retiring in 2018 due to health concerns. He returned this year, but for the new Ridgeline High boys basketball team in the GSL.

“Last year I remember being away and thinking I’m so grateful that I didn’t coach because I don’t know if I could have handled this,” said Rehkow, whose new school counts. more than 200 students at the matches. this season. “This year, even though we have the restrictions, COVID testing and all the other stuff in place, it feels like it’s a little close to normal. It’s very positive because these kids, they can do whatever they love and have that social interaction and that team atmosphere, again.


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