Bishop Seabubble

Basketball players discuss their season in the pandemic


Photo by Anna Johnson

Jonah Kim, Copy

With COVID-19 concerns shutting down all American sports leagues, it seemed like they would never resume play. However, with the installment of bubble systems in the NBA and NHL they were able to continue their seasons, and with positive tests seemingly everyday coming out of the NFL, bubble systems seems to be the only effective way to cancel out the spread. With basketball season approaching for the high school boys team, there were questions on how they could play as safely as possible. The players ended up in a system where they take all of their classes online and only come to school for practice in their own mini bubble system.

Being under these unique circumstances, some players have noticed the effects of being in a bubble-like system. Sophomore Shamus Sawyer explains, “Live really has affected the team dynamic to the point where we only see some guys at practice. So it has been a little harder to figure out everybody’s dynamic and how they fit into the team, but for the most part we have worked those problems out.” 

Junior Sam Hertzog also feels that it was hard at first to come together as a team. “I think the lack of interaction throughout the day makes it more tough for us to grow as a team,” he says. “All the older guys know each other pretty well, but it’s difficult to introduce new people and get them caught up to speed when we have a very limited amount of time.” However, the team’s games slotted in December have been rescheduled, so the players are free to return to in school activities, hoping to form more of a bond with teammates.

Hertzog also adds on the topic of safety precautions being taken: “I wish I could say that all the other teams are taking this as seriously as we are, but I can’t say for sure. We understand that we should take every precaution possible to prevent any potential spread, and isolating is just one of those many precautions.” The players feel like they have to be as safe as possible, as positive cases around the league could result in the cancellation of the season.

With the team losing two all-state players during the offseason, some of the team’s returning veterans are taking up leadership roles on the team. Senior and 2A all-state first team guard Stavian Jones is one of those returning players. “ I could’ve left like Zach and Juju if I wanted to, but I stayed and worked hard during the offseason physically and mentally to be prepared to lead this team to a championship no matter the circumstances,” he says. “There is no reason why we shouldn’t be able to accomplish what we want to accomplish.”

Hertzog adds onto the idea of stepping up to the occasion: “I am ready,” he says. “I have been working very hard to take a big step forward, and I know Coach Mel and my teammates will put me in the best position to be successful as an individual, and more importantly for the team.”

With the loss of talent there also comes adapting to playing without it. Sawyer mentions, “I would have to say that this year is definitely going to be harder on us as a whole. We are going to have to be tougher overall on both sides of the ball and fight for those loose ball opportunities.”

Hertzog adds, “We are going to have to be much more solid fundamentally this year. We have to be quicker as a unit and we can’t afford to make bad mistakes. Obviously we lost a lot of talented players, but effort and intensity can be replaced, and those are aspects of the game that I am confident this team can excel at.”

Although the team saw struggles at first coming together, they have already begun to see massive improvement all around. They are practicing every day of the week and will begin to play games in January. Coming so close to a state title last year and shattering records every week, it seems almost impossible to replicate. However, it would be unwise to count this team out as they are ready to fight and give all they have to get back. Jones explains, “Me and just about everyone else knows we would’ve won state last year, and that is something that still resonates with all of us. It’s something that has fueled me and the guys to work hard this off season . . . As long as we want it badly enough and are willing to make the sacrifices it takes to get back to that stage, I don’t see anything holding us back.”