Several area coaches recently expressed their opinions on the IHSA’s decision to effectively pause the winter sports season until at least the middle of December. The jury had been out on whether or not high school basketball teams around Illinois would be able to lace up this season after the Governor’s new mitigation plans with regards to COVID-19. The IHSA recently announced in a press release that they would be complying with the mitigations that are set to take effect on Nov. 20.

“It was frustrating to hear the news today about winter sports being paused, although we did see the writing on the wall,” said Cissna Park girls basketball head coach, Anthony Videka. “Our girls have kept a great attitude during this entire pandemic and we have worked just as hard if not harder than ever.”

The area’s coaches are still remaining hopeful that the season will not be canceled after the IHSA board meets again on Dec. 14.

“We continue to tell our athletes the basketball seasons have not been canceled,” said Barry Bauer, head basketball coach for the Watseka Lady Warriors. “The IHSA Board has scheduled meetings to re-evaluate the situation on Dec. 2 and Dec. 14. If the state can get out of the Governor’s Tier 3 mitigations, then I think we still would have a chance of starting a basketball season.”

Watseka boys coach, Chad Cluver, shared Bauer’s optimism.

“I was surprised that the IHSA didn’t pause winter sports all the way to January, but I am still hopeful that we will be able to play some games come January. I can’t control the decisions made about basketball, all I can control is how I handle it and I am staying positive and hopeful that my guys will have the opportunity to compete this year.”

Right now, what is bothering the coaches more than anything is the lack of uncertainty surrounding the season.

“We’re just hoping to get somewhat of a clearer picture of what the future of winter sports will look like more than anything,” said Iroquois West’s girls coach, Kristy Arie. “At some point, deadlines have to be set on whether or not we can actually play this winter or if we need to move on and hope for other opportunities for other sports seasons.”

“No one knows what is going to happen, but hope is all we have at this point,” said Milford boys coach, Dave Caldwell. “Our players have worked hard and we all hope things will get better for everyone.”

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