BOYS’ BASKETBALL OFF THE COURT ONCE AGAIN DUE TO COVID-19 EXPOSURE

Photo+courtesy+of+%40knightsofPHS

Photo courtesy of @knightsofPHS

Jacob Siciliano , Executive Producer

Saturday, Feb. 6 

9:30 p.m.

Prospect boys’ basketball celebrated their first win of the season with a 62-32 victory over Elk Grove. Senior Chase Larsen, who had 14 points,  and junior Owen Schneider, who had 11 points, led the Knights in scoring. The Knights (1-1) were scheduled to return to Jean-Walker Field house for their first game there since the sectional semifinals last March.

“I was super excited for the game, [I was] ready to get going,” Larsen said. “I had some tunes blasting before I hit the pillow last night. I was just ready to go.”

That excitement to return to Jean Walker would have to wait for Larsen, as a text he would  receive the next morning would change everything.

 

Tuesday, Feb. 9 

8 a.m.

Larsen and his teammates arrived at Prospect for a morning walkthrough and shootaround. Prospect had been scheming and studying Hersey’s film ever since the win over Elk Grove. Spirits were high and the whole team couldn’t wait until the 7:30 tip-off.

 

Tuesday, Feb. 9

10 a.m.

As the school day started Larsen sat in his first period World Religions class, taught by his head coach John Camardella. Larsen’s head was clear and focused throughout the period until Camradella came up to him at the end of class. 

“He said ‘you’re not going to believe the text I just got.’ I was like alright–kind of freaked out–and he said that he just found out that Elk Grove’s sophomore team, [which had a student test positive for COVID-19], practices with their varsity team, and that threw me for a spin.” 

Despite the new information the game was still on and Larsen wasn’t concerned. 

“I just pushed it aside, told myself we’ll be fine, we’re going to play tonight.” Larsen said. “I don’t have to worry, I’m still just focused on Hersey.” 

 

Tuesday, Feb. 9 

12 p.m.

Larsen would continue to hold on to that optimism as he travelled home for lunch. He focused on how Prospect could shut down Hersey’s Ethan Roberts, who recently received Division 1 offers from both the Army and Navy. Larsen would then return to prospect for his AP European History class, where his mood completely flipped.

“We were probably 20 minuets in, and I glanced at my phone and I had probably 50 missed messages,” Larsen said. “So I clicked on my phone and [Camardella] sent us this huge text on how a player on Elk Grove tested positive, we all had to go home immediately, the game was cancelled tonight and that’s all we really knew.” 

Throughout the school, varsity basketball players put their pencils down, rose from their desks and left. They all were in shock and disbelief of what just happened.

“It was almost unrealistic, like it just wasn’t real… it was one of those moments where you just remember where you were and what you were doing,” Senior Luke Zardzin said.  

The shock and disbelief the players faced was all too soon replaced with a feeling that all basketball players have been far too familiar with this season. The rollercoaster ride of emotions that came with the uncertainty of the season was back in full service as, once again, their season was in jeopardy.

“The emotions have been going up and down, up and down. It’s hard to keep track of, but at this point honestly when I first heard the news I was super bummed out but nothing really surprises me anymore.” Larsen said

 

Tuesday, Feb. 9

3:30 p.m.

Zardzin and Larsen joined the rest of their team on a phone call with Athletic Director Dan Debouef and Associate Principal of Student ActivitiesFrank Mirandola to address the situation. Coaches took names of players who had COVID-19 in the last 90 days and addressed the specifics of the situation. However, despite the meeting, it was still unknown how long the quarantine would be or what a new possible schedule might look like.

Rumors went wild that night. Some believed a 14-day quarantine was inevitable with a possible cancellation of games. Others believed if they all tested negative then they could play Friday’s game against Buffalo Grove. A few even thought that since many of them have already had COVID-19 they could field a team. But, overall, everyone was frustrated

“In our group chat we were kind of angry because we knew we couldn’t have done anything, it was completely out of our control. We did everything right. We didn’t get any [COVID-19] cases. It was just out of our control,” Zardzin said.

 

Wednesday, Feb. 10

3:30 p.m.

The boys’ basketball team had another meeting with Debouef and Mirandola and were expected to release a statement on how long the quarantine would be. After the meeting took place Mirandola released this statement to the media.

“10-day quarantines are in effect per Cook County Dept. of Public Health. No additional testing is necessary if there are no symptoms. All games have been postponed and are in the process of being rescheduled.”

Since Prospect had played Elk Grove the previous Saturday, their quarantine would last only seven more days. Zardzin, who had hoped that if every player tested negative the quarantine would end, was fairly optimistic about the news.

“Seven [days] instead of 14 was huge, because I think 14 days can ruin a season, but seven could actually benefit a season,” Zardzin continued. “Seven days is a decent break where we can learn about ourselves, learn our tendencies and learn where we need to get better.”

 

Wednesday, Feb. 10

Players who had previously contracted COVID-19 did not have to quarantine and were able to shoot around at Prospect, just not as a full team. To replace the full team in-person practices, Zardzin and his team-mates joined daily team zoom meetings, which focused on the mental aspect of the game. Each meeting focused on a different theme.

While obviously not being able to practice as a team isn’t ideal, Zardzin said it could actually be beneficial to take a step back and reassess.

“All these team zooms we are doing each day are helping us a lot. Even more so than actually having a practice because now we can actually see how we are playing,” Zardzin said.

The boys’ basketball team will return to practice on Feb. 17 and make its grand return to Jean Walker against the Wheeling Wildcats on Feb. 19.