Prior to practice Dec. 15 at Sierra High School, girls basketball coach Joseph Williams informed his team this would be their final week of training in 2020.
Williams received an email from Harrison School District 2 halting practices until this month. It served as yet another change in the litany of adjustments caused by the pandemic.
Between no practices and the constant tweaks to the basketball schedule, Williams said it’s frustrating to navigate the ordeal.
“I plan something and then it gets shut down,” he said. “We thought we’d go live Jan. 4 Then, I had to tell our players [on Dec. 15] that we’re shutting down until Jan. 4. When we come back, we’re still not sure what the schedule will be.
“When [by Colorado High School Activities Association] moved the games number of games this season from 16 to 14, we were told wouldn’t have less than 14 games, and now, we’re going to have less than 14. I feel bad for not only my own seniors, but seniors across the state.”
As of Dec. 7, according to Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment guidelines, CHSAA alerted prep coaches and athletes that Season B’s start date changed to Feb. 1 due to a spike in COVID-19 cases.
At this point, Williams said he feels more like a motivational speaker than a coach as he struggles to keep team morale elevated.
He and the Stallions coaches send positive messages to players to keep them engaged as the season schedule changes — and then changes again.
Williams also relies on his captains to inspire players and help prepare for whatever happens with the season.
“[Captains] have to stay in touch with the girls,” Williams said. “Having that peer aspect of influence is critical right now. Between the coaches and the captains, we stay on top of younger players to keep things positive and active.”
Harrison’s girls basketball player Amyah Moore also is in limbo. Moore scored her 1,000th point for the Panthers in the 2019-2020 season, which included 502 total points her junior campaign, and she averaged 21.8 points per game.
Moore expected to provide an encore performance in her final act. Now, she just hopes to rock the uniform once more.
“The most challenging thing about being off the court is the fact that it’s my senior year,” Moore said. “I want to be able to get all the time on the court — but I’m unable to. It’s been hard because this is my last year and I don’t get this time back.”
Senior Arianna Reyes, Stallions girls basketball team captain, expected the pandemic, which shut down schools March 16, 2020, to end by this basketball season.
Instead, she’s in the same position from last season when the pandemic erased part of the winter schedule and expunged the spring sports slate.
“It’s very concerning,” Reyes said. “We keep wondering if [the season will] get pushed back again or if we’ll have fans. All that has ran through my mind. At this point we wonder if the hard work we put in has gone to waste because we may not have a season.”
Though Reyes said she’s worried about her final season, she’s prepared if it sharts.
She maintains her grades in school, continues to watch film from old games and continues performs basketball drills to remain sharp. Williams said her work ethic doesn’t surprise him.
“The older girls know what’s expected of them,” he said. “You’re a student before you’re an athlete. Take care of the grades so you can step on the court for practice. We just ask that you give us 110 percent.”