By Tim Chambers
Johnson County is hoping for a better 2021 when basketball season starts back on January 4. The Longhorns have been plagued by hard-luck, with six of their losses totaling 16 points. They’ll play Sullivan North on January 4 at home on a night where once again, it will be boys games only. North is not bringing their girl’s team, so the Lady Longhorns will miss yet another game.
The Horns can be happy that Governor Lee’s executive order didn’t shut down high school winter sports despite the limit of no more than ten persons in a public place. Some school systems are not allowing parents inside the gym to watch their kids play, such as Carter County, a death sentence for high school sports that have already taken a hard hit.
In most gyms, the media, scouts, and parents are allowed to attend if they can maintain six feet of social distancing. The one area that has taken a hard hit is cheerleading. In many places, the cheerleaders have been removed from the baselines and have been seated in the stands. It will be a strain on coaches to get in all their games as many have been canceled. The window becomes smaller for scheduling non-conference games, especially when trying to get in all their conference games by tournament time. Most conference games are played in January.
A quick fix that probably hasn’t been thought of is to play all conference games at a neutral site. An example would be to bring all teams to a gym on a Saturday and have an all day scrimmage. This would work great for makeup games as all the teams would already have to practice over the Christmas holidays to play some quality basketball in January.
At present, the quality of play is the worst that I’ve ever seen in my 20 years of covering high school sports. That’s no knock on the athletes. It’s a lack of practice time and preparation due to the pandemic.