by Ken Brown
NORTHEAST KINGDOM – High school basketball teams around the state began full contact practices and scrimmages last Monday, but they await a decision by Governor Scott this Friday to give the greenlight for varsity competition to finally begin.
Area teams are optimistic that they will tip-off their high school basketball seasons early next week, but with participation numbers down statewide and strict COVID-19 protocols in place, this season will look anything but normal.
All players, coaches, referees, and personnel will be required to wear masks at all times. Teams must have two off days in between games, which means that coaches and athletic directors are hoping to get in two games a week for their boys’ and girls’ squads. Games will also be played without fans inside of the gymnasium for safety reasons.
“The guys are still getting acclimated to running up and down the court with a mask on and there will definitely be an adjustment period for everyone once we start playing games,” said Twinfield boys’ head coach Chris Hudson. “Guys seem to be losing their wind a little quicker wearing a mask, so we’ll have to substitute a little more, but with smaller rosters we’re all going to have to adjust on the fly,” said Hudson.
Once the season finally tips off, it will be a 10-12 game sprint to the playoffs for most teams. There is little to no wiggle room for rescheduling around positive tests and snow days at this point. The basketball season normally ends at the Barre Auditorium in March, but there are hopes that the Vermont Principals Association will consider extending it if possible.