HOOPS! Boys basketball team brings order to the court

HOOPS! Boys basketball team brings order to the court

   Unlike previous years, the bleachers during the varsity boys basketball game are almost empty. Family and friends of the players had to buy their tickets in advance and have assigned seats in order to maintain social distancing. The players all wear masks, and their seats on the sidelines are spread six feet apart. 

   Despite these changes and restrictions, the team still played strong. In a recent game against the Belvidere Buccaneers. Jacoby Robinson, senior point guard, scored the first point of the game, and then it was off to the races. In the end, Guilford won the game 52 – 32. 

   “We just had to adapt,” said Robinson. “It was so fast, we played many games, which was a plus for us. The more games we played, the better we got. We had to learn quickly.”

   Only a few months ago, players did not even know whether the season was going to happen. Although practice has started up again, it has changed significantly from previous years. Not only are players required to wear masks, but other teams are practicing in the same area at the same time, which makes it harder to focus. 

 “The biggest change in practice has to be being in the gym with other sports going on right next to us and not being able to hear very well with us wearing masks the whole time,” said varsity forward, Amir Bolden. 

   Although the masks do hinder the players’ breathing and hearing, they are part of IHSA safety guidelines because they can stop the spread of COVID-19. These new guidelines do not only extend to the athletes, but to the audience as well. Players report feeling a lack of energy while playing due to the limited amount of people allowed to watch the games in person. 

   “The biggest difference was no fans being able to come and support, with it only being a 50 person limit,” said Bolden. “I did not think it was that big of a deal until we had to create our own energy and support from the bench.”

    Along with the mask requirements and the limitation on fans allowed in came the shortened season the team had this year.

  “This season was different from the previous season because we had fewer games than usual,” said varsity point guard, Semaj Smith, junior.

     Due to the uncertainty of there being a basketball season this year, the games and practices had to be sped up in order to catch up with the normal season. Nevertheless, the team was able to adapt quickly and get back into the groove of their sport.

   “Some benefits of this year’s changes are that we learned to adapt so if something like this happens again in our lives we would know how to deal with it,” said varsity center Njegos Magazin.

   With this being the last season for some of the players, it can be quite nostalgic. 

   “It is sad, but like a month before the season started, we did not know if we were going to have a season, so I am really happy that we have a season for my last year,” said Robinson. “It is my last year and I am just glad to have a season, honestly.”

   Although this season is coming to such a fast close, the players are already ready for their next season. But looking back at this year, the players were just happy they could enjoy their sport again.

“A benefit from this year’s changes was just getting a chance to play and bond with the guys on the team,” said Bolden.