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(Not) playing it day-by-day

With covid numbers rising, decisions to play to be made on a week-by-week basis





Moving forward ... with caution / October 08, 2020

The Halifax County High School varsity boys basketball team has enjoyed great success in recent years – the past two seasons, the Comets have played in the quarterfinal round of the VHSL state tournament.

Those accolades have come with hard work and dedication. As the team readies for another season with COVID-19 still a very present risk, Coach Sterling Williams says the Comets will move ahead doing as much as they can.

The basketball program got a boost – as did all Comet sports – when the Halifax County School Board voted to allow conditioning sessions to resume. A date for the resumption is in the process of being determined.

Williams said missing the spring and summer workouts due to the coronavirus was difficult. The coach noted that it’s during these times players build relationships and coaches get to share in that also. Williams said he and his coaching staff will just be glad to see the kids.

“Well you know the kids have been on a seven-month hiatus,” Williams said. “We really use that spring and summer to really build those relationships, with our players and their families. It’s a time for them to build up those relationships just with each other.

“So we’re excited to get back into it, we’re excited to just hang out with our guys. Of course there’s the basketball side of it, but just to be around them again.”

Williams explained how conditioning sessions would have to be run. He said he completely understands the limitations in place to condition and practice, and of course there would be challenges.

“Some of the challenges presented is everybody has to have their own basketball, which we have enough basketballs for that but you can’t work on passing, you can’t work on flowing into offense … We can’t work on five-on-five stuff.

“Just finding ways to improve as individuals right now until the guidelines allow us to incorporate more team activities.”

Williams said his players have also been limited in even having the opportunity to play out-of-season ball or really get in any type of consistent workout since schools closed in the spring. He shared that most of his players haven’t really had the benefit of playing any basketball recently.

“We had a couple guys play AAU basketball,” he said. “But there hasn’t been many opportunities for these guys outside of that. And with that they’re having to travel outside the county to get that.

“So it’s been a struggle for them, just trying to work out on their own because there’s no gym or outdoor court for them to go to, to work on their craft. And that’s really what the kids miss, that opportunity to improve their individualism.”

Williams knows that how things are being planned out now could change at any moment — for better or for worse. He said when making decisions regarding sports and the student population in general, the School Board has always taken into account the safety of the students first. “Our school board decided to side with safety for our students and I respect that.”

But the coach says when conditioning does start, winning a VHSL state championship title will be the ultimate goal. Williams said even with all the restrictions in place they won’t be making excuses as far as their performance goes.

In fact, this season the coaches are looking to have a team that will rise to the level of last year’s team and even surpass it.

“It’s just trying to get back in here now with our limited time and trying to make the most out of it,” said Williams. “But we have some high expectations for this group, at the end of the season we felt this group kind of overachieved last year. We didn’t really know what to expect but once the ball got rolling those guys really improved throughout the season.

“So we were really looking forward to this off season the spring and the summer and the fall to improve as individuals and as a team and we just didn’t get that … But in that same breath we’re not gonna make any excuses because there are other teams that are pretty much in the same scenario as us. They might have got started a little bit earlier than we did but we’re not gonna try and make any excuses.

“We’re just going to try and make the most out of it and try to provide our student-athletes with these opportunities.”

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