On the Pivot

During an unprecedented season, the girls’ basketball players are remaining grateful, optimistic, and focused.

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photo by Carol Manz

The girls’ basketball team is preparing for a unique but exciting season.

Mary Marzula, Staff Writer

Every student-athlete looks forward to their senior season and the accompanying flowers, banners, and banquets. It’s a celebration of years of hard work. But what if you were told that your senior season wasn’t going to be normal in the slightest?

Many student-athletes this year have had to deal with their seasons being cut short, canceled, or dramatically altered. With COVID-19 cases continuing to rise, the girls’ basketball season has been dealt more schedule changes and safety protocols than anyone would have thought possible.

After looking forward to this season for as long as she could remember, senior Paige Morningstar is trying to soak up the last memories she will make on the high school court. 

With all the rules and regulations this season, I am making sure to cherish every moment I get to be with my team because we never know when we will get shut down or the season will be canceled,” she said.

One of the most obvious changes to this season is athletes having to wear masks. Because it’s an indoor sport, basketball players have to wear masks the whole game whether on the bench or court. 

Originally, I worried that it would be difficult to breathe with a mask on during a game. However, I was very surprised at how little of an effect it actually had on my breathing and endurance,” senior Lizzy Groetsch said. “During our first three games, I forgot that I even had it on.”

We try to focus on the things we can control and are just thankful to be playing together.”

— Lizzy Groetsch

The team has also had to enforce many more restrictions when it comes to crowd size. Having fewer fans cheering them on has been a drastic change for the athletes.

I think not having a normal-sized crowd is definitely different. The atmosphere feels weird and at times it can get quiet, but that’s why you have a team there to bring energy into the gym,” senior Maddie Reardon said.

No matter how difficult it may be to adjust to the season’s new rules and regulations, the uncertainty has also motivated the players.

“We start every game with the thought that the next one could be canceled. We leave it all out on the floor and try to play to the best of our abilities,” Reardon added. “I think we all understand that we can be stopped at any moment this year, and we are thankful that we get the chance to play right now.”

Compared to fall sports, which were played outside when COVID-19 case numbers were lower, winter sports have had a much more restricted season. While it can be frustrating, the players are still enjoying their time together.

“I think it’s hard to compare [winter and fall sports] because there are many different factors that contribute to the increased restrictions. We try to focus on the things we can control and are just thankful to be playing together,” Groetsch said.

Above all, the athletes are excited for the chance to play the sport they all love.

I am blessed to be able to play and cannot wait to see where NAGBB goes this year,” Morningstar said. “I think we have a very special group of girls and talented athletes who can do amazing things this year if the season allows it.”