WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY)–Public high schools across the State of North Carolina officially kicked off the 2021 basketball season on Monday. The schools are preparing for a year of basketball unlike any other.
“It’s just great to be able to get back at it,” says Laney junior Taylor Chism.
It’s been nearly a year since these teams last played together in late February of 2020. They say after months of uncertainly surrounding the season, there’s no place they’d rather be.
“Over the summer we had no idea what was going to happen,” said Laney senior Regan Stewart. “So, once we had word that we would have a season we were all excited and ready to get out here.”
The games will have a much different look this season however. All players, coaches, and officials are required to wear masks at all times. There will also be no jump ball to begin the games and just 25 fans are allowed in attendance. Laney High School girl’s basketball coach Ashley Jones says preparing for this season is difficult, especially beginning the season with Mideastern Conference play.
“For us the preparation is key and you just kind of shift your mind to conference play quicker than we’ve ever had to before,” Jones said. “It’s challenging, but it’s definitely doable.”
The Mideastern Conference will begin their regular season on Wednesday and wrap up the year nearly a month later on February 19th. No matter how the season turns out, the players say their fortunate and thankful for the opportunity.
“It’s just been an experience to this point, but it’s been really fun,” says Chism. “I know we’re not promised a season or the next game, but I’m just happy that I get to be out here with my friends. I know a lot of people are stuck at home and don’t have the opportunity to be with their friends.”
The Laney girl’s basketball team begins the season on Wednesday taking on New Hanover.