NPSS students keep hustle and hope on the basketball court

The school year is half over, and it's safe to say COVID-19 is taking its toll on students when it comes to their willingness to play school sports and stay engaged in extracurricular groups.

Not that anyone can blame them.

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As the NPSS basketball season gets underway, competition, and even scrimmages, are still prohibited.

There are fewer students signed up for the school's four basketball teams this year, and even compared to the volleyball teams last fall. 

But the teams are carrying on for the players committed to working on their skills and fitness.

"It's harder for the kids to stay positive with things. We're going into 12 months now without kids having that level of competition they're used to. Especially with club sports being shut down for most of the year as well, that's 12 months without anything," said junior girls basketball coach Samantha Stackhouse. 

"The kids who are still playing are the ones who have the positive attitude and are looking at it from, 'what can we get out of this?'" Stackhouse said. "That’s a great way to look at it, instead of saying 'it's too bad we can't compete'. It is too bad, but we're kind of past that now."

Grade 10 students Paige McPherson and Alyssa Gray are happy to be playing whatever form of basketball they can. 

"I'm playing in hopes that we'll be able to have a regular season next year," said McPherson. "If we take a year off, and then we do get to play next year, we won't be that good."

Gray is thankful for the chance to keep working on her skills.

"I wanted to keep my skills up, but it's hard when you can't mimic the game like we normally would. We're just hoping we'll get to play again next year," said Gray. 

While there are no scrimmages or games permitted this season, some things with school sports have progressed since the volleyball season in the fall.

When basketball drills and practices shift from normal to high intensity, players are allowed to remove their masks as long as they stay in their cohorts and maintain six feet of distance from anyone. 

"It did get easier to play with a mask on as the volleyball season went on," said McPherson, the dual-sport athlete. 

Thankfully, for now, she won't have to wear the mask all the time. 

Email sports reporter Dillon Giancola at sports@ahnfsj.ca

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