Basketball fans across the state will have to wait a little while longer to get their high school hoops fix.
The Kentucky High School Athletic Association announced on Wednesday a plan to postpone the 2020-21 basketball season and all winter sports until January 4 in order to combat the rising number of COVID-19 cases.
This news won’t come as a surprise to most as the rising number of cases has proved to be a cause for concern throughout the month of November leading up to the original season start date.
Locally, this means Mayfield and Graves County football will be the only remaining high school sports in our area until the first of the year.
While some coaches across the bluegrass may hang their heads and sulk about the delay, others are using this time to continue preparation to ensure their teams are ready the day their eventual season opener comes.
For Mayfield girls basketball head coach Bradley Nanney the delay was no shocking news.
“We weren’t surprised,” Nanney said. “Although we want to play now, we understand that’s just not possible at this given time.”
Nanney went on to add that his team will continue to use this time productively as they await the beginning of the season.
“We will continue to prepare in some form or fashion every day. We are able to get a lot done through technology. It’s obviously not the same as in person practice but we won’t just throw our hands up and say ‘oh well see you December 14th.’ At the same time we will follow the guidelines and not look for ways to get around them. I think it’s important for us as a staff to model to our players that doing the right thing in tough situations is important. As soon as our district, the KHSAA and the Governor say we can resume conditioning and small group in-person work we will jump right back in.”
Across the county, Graves County boys basketball head coach Josh Frick echoed the same regarding the season’s delay.
“[We weren’t] overly surprised. After talking with colleagues and administrators within the last week, I felt like we were moving in the direction of postponing the season until January,” Frick said. “I hate it for the kids that have worked hard and were looking forward to starting the season next week. However, I understand the decision and we will do everything we can to ensure the safety of our players.”
Moving forward, keeping players’ games sharp during the hiatus will obviously be of the utmost concern but that shouldn’t take away from the mental health effects this break will have on each athlete.
Looking ahead to the break, Frick said his coaching staff will do their best to ensure their players are sharp both mentally and physically leading up to the start of the season.
“The first item of business is making sure that our players have the right mindset going forward,” Frick said. “It’s difficult for high school kids to have to start and stop so often. I’m sure doubt is creeping into their minds on if they will get to play this season. It’s important that the staff does everything we can to keep our guys in the right mindset of preparing for the season and working hard every day. Our guys have done a tremendous job of doing that so far, and I expect that to continue. The second item of business is filling out a schedule. That itself will bring unique challenges.”