League play is on the verge of falling despite rising COVID cases – Monterey Herald

MONTEREY — As the pandemic escalates with rising COVID cases in Monterey County to begin 2022, the idea of ​​shutting down high school indoor sports is not on the table. At least not yet.

Postponements and cancellations, however, are expected to be part of the journey in January as the Pacific Coast Athletic League moves forward with the basketball league openers on Wednesday.

“It’s not ideal,” said Pacific Grove boys’ basketball coach Dan Powers, whose team will host Monterey on Wednesday. “We’re trying to have a season for these kids.”

There is no script or game plan for COVID-19, which has seen a surge since Christmas, casting doubt on whether the season will continue or be suspended.

“I wouldn’t be shocked if things changed,” Monterey boys coach Greg Daniels said. “But we are moving forward. I don’t believe shutting down is going to help or is the right answer.

The Toreadores lost a preseason game due to COVID protocols, while the Breakers played a game without two starters who tested positive in a 64-32 loss to San Jose’s Leland.

Significance is the backhand left Pacific Grove 5-6 in non-league play. Basketball teams must have an out-of-league or league winning record to claim the Central Coast Section Playoffs. The program hasn’t missed the playoffs in 28 years.

All participants in indoor sports – which include wrestling during the winter season – are required to test themselves at least once a week. Some schools, like Stevenson, test twice a week.

The Pirates, who didn’t have a boys’ or girls’ basketball season last year due to the pandemic, have not lost a game to date. The boys’ program started with a 10-3 record, while the girls are 6-2 when they return. Both won league titles in the 2020 season.

“We’re not playing with the virus,” Stevenson boys’ coach and athletic director Justin Clymo said of the school’s decision to test twice a week for the sport. “Next month is going to be as interesting as we’ve been through it.”

Cancellations were minimal in December’s non-league season, with Alvarez forced to cancel his boys’ and girls’ basketball tournament after the first day of the event due to a case.

“I think we’ll see a semblance that looks like the NBA,” Clymo said. “You’re going to have to be flexible with the schedules. If we have six healthy players, we will play.

League openings in the Gabilan Division scheduled for Wednesday include Carmel at Christopher and Salinas at Palma. The Arroyo and Santa Lucia division for girls opened on Tuesday.

A positive test for a player has the potential to gut a program, as unvaccinated players who come into close contact with someone who tests positive must quarantine for 10 days, regardless of their test results.

Vaccinated players who come into close contact with an HIV-positive person can continue to train and play if they show no symptoms.

“The reality of the situation is that you’re going to have kids at some point,” Powers said. “You hope that’s not the majority of your team. You are at the mercy of something you cannot control.

That means there’s nothing on the clipboard that a coach can map to overcoming COVID, although having some depth off the bench helps.

“I think we all knew it might go up over the holidays,” Daniels said. “You kind of hold your breath every week when the kids are tested.”

Stevenson, who is considered a Mission Division favorite along with San Benito and Alvarez, won’t open his league season until Tuesday, January 11.

“It will be day to day,” Clymo said. “I hope student-athletes, parents and coaches can keep that in mind throughout the season. You won’t always have a complete list.

The alternative of stopping play for two to three weeks for the recent surge of cases to peak doesn’t seem like something most coaches would favor.

“Everyone just needs to be super flexible,” Clymo said. “If you can’t play today, reschedule. We all have open dates. It’s just the reality of dealing with it.

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