REDMOND — Friday night’s game between Ridgeview and Summit girls basketball teams started not with a tipoff, but with Summit passing the ball in to start the game — a sight as strange as starting a shortened winter sports season weeks before Memorial Day.
While certain aspects of life prior to COVID-19 are trending toward normalcy, the effect of the pandemic on high school sports has taken a toll.
Whether because of the unusual overlap of sports seasons this year or COVID-19 complications sending high school athletes into quarantine, high school basketball teams are taking longer to find their competitive form — or even field full rosters — after a 14-month hiatus.“We are just grateful to be playing, grateful to have our people in the stands,” said Summit girls basketball coach Lynette Landis. “I think Monday we will have our full team available. We haven’t had that.”
Ridgeview won its second game over Summit in as many days Friday evening, beating the Storm 49-43 to start the season after its state tournament campaign more than a year ago with two wins.
Faye Davis led the Ravens with 21 points while fellow senior Paige Pentzer jumpstarted the ravens with eight of her 10 total points coming in the opening quarter. Sophomore Rose Koehler led the way for Summit with 17 points while Mimi Dioguadri added 11.
“For not playing for over a year, I am super impressed and I am happy with how it is starting off,” said Ridgeview coach Alicia Love following the win. “We are missing some kids so it is a good feeling to know that there are more coming in and we are still playing at a high level.”
Friday’s game showed how the high school sports world is beginning to sway back to normal for players, coaches, officials and fans who are vaccinated. Vaccinated players did not need to wear masks while playing. All three officials were maskless as well. As were a large portion of the fans in attendance.
Per the guidelines of the Oregon Health Authority and the Oregon School Activities Association, people who are fully vaccinated do not need to wear masks at athletic competitions. To be fully vaccinated it takes two weeks after the final dose of the vaccine. High school students have only recently been able to receive the vaccine.
Until then, anyone playing, officiating or attending a high game who has not been vaccinated must still wear a mask.“It is crazy to see people in the stands not wearing masks, then you look on the court and all the players that are working are wearing them,” said Love.
While most of the region’s teams have started the final leg of the high school sports year, two suffered serious setbacks less than a week after starting. The Bend High girls basketball team has yet to play a game this spring because COVID-19 outbreak sent all but a handful of players into quarantine. The Lava Bears are set to play their first game since March of 2020 on Thursday against Summit.
Thirty miles south in La Pine, Friday brought devastating news to the high school and athletic programs. An outbreak of COVID-19 is forcing the school to shutdown with students returning to distance learning for two weeks. During that time, no activities or athletics can take place until early June.
The Hawks girls’ basketball team had already played a game while the wrestling team was coming off a victory in a dual meet over Bend earlier in the week.
“They have had so much taken away,” said La Pine athletic director and wrestling coach Aaron Flack. “They are starting to get in the swing of winter sports. It is tough. Had some good things rolling and now we are having to take a step back.”