PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD/WYZZ) — Another day, another twist to the high school basketball season that is still two weeks away from a scheduled start.
A day after the Illinois High School Association announced it is holding to its plan to start a prep basketball season in November, Governor JB Pritzker said he’s like to see the season moved to the spring. The IHSA says its sticking to its schedule and released it mitigations for winter sports Thursday.
Tuesday, the Illinois Department of Public Health moved basketball from medium to high risk, meaning no games, no intrasquad scrimmages and no contact practices can take place. Wednesday the IHSA board voted to allow local school districts to make the decision if their teams will play this winter.
The student-athletes are the ones caught in the middle.
“I think everyone wants to play badly,” Notre Dame senior Matthew Williams said at practice Thursday. “We’ll do whatever it takes to have a season, even if it’s in the spring, I think he’d all be ready to go.”
The winter basketball season is scheduled to begin with practice on Nov. 16 and games on Nov. 30. But with the governor’s office and the IHSA butting heads, the fate of the season may be decided in a court of law before its played out on basketball courts.
“I just tell them, whatever they choose to do we just have to roll with it,” Manual boys basketball coach Willie Coleman said. “(I tell them) keep your head up, no matter what. it’s a tough time. And I can’t imagine what these kids are going through.”
The IHSA mitigations include players, coaches and officials wearing masks while at play. Due to players wearing masks during contests, a media time-out will be taken each quarter at the first dead ball under the 5-minute mark to give players an opportunity to catch their breath.
“It’s been a roller coaster,” said Limestone boys basketball coach Tony Thomason. “Those are things we can’t control. We’re doing our part, social distancing, wearing our masks, the kids have done a great job adhering to that. So we are only worried about what we can control right now.”