Girls basketball together online and on the court

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In an age of uncertainty, the Highlands Ranch girls basketball team is looking for a little bit of normality. As the district made the decision to send schools back into a modified hybrid school model, the girls basketball team also made the decision to keep players all online in an effort to keep players and coaches healthy and safe. 

In putting the team on full time online, it was a choice between each player and their family about what was best for them. “This is a tough decision because when student-athletes are not in school, they are missing the day-to-day operations and excitement of being around their friends and teachers. However, if they were to contract COVID or become quarantined, it could have a detrimental impact on the team,” said Darren Withey, athletic director. The result in an online school for the team was due to the unfortunate events for season A and their short, limited season. 

In making the right choice for the team, one element that had to be addressed was the mindset the girls were bringing into the court and the energy they played with. “I do not think the online learning has greatly impacted our mindsets for games! If anything it helps us all to eat better during the day and go through whatever pre-game routines better,” said Alex Pirog, junior. It is important to keep the team well and maintaining a good attitude to be able to come out stronger and play the very best.


Gianna Principato, senior, said, “We take every game really seriously and we take practices seriously so I feel like going online was definitely an adjustment for us but we have been good at adjusting to the situation.” Photo courtesy of Morgan Williams

During games and practices, players as well as coaches are required to wear masks and keep a safe distance apart from each other. When not in the game, the bench has been modified with chairs socially distanced for those on the team and staff. “The regulations that we must follow as a player is checking our temperature at practices and games,” said Gianna Principato, senior. “We must also wear a mask at all times when we are out there on the court. The same goes for the coaching staff.” 

Another new regulation due to COVID-19 is the limitation of fans in the stands. Parents of the players are allowed in as well as up to 25 students as long as they are all socially distanced. The school is putting up fatheads in the stands for people to buy and put a face of their choice. “The limited/no fans has somewhat impacted the team. It is definitely different without our usual student section or band there to support, but we are at least grateful that our parents can come watch!” said Pirog. 


Infographic by Addison Rohr and Photo courtesy of Morgan Williams

As of now, the girls are planning to come back after Spring break and their championship. Occurring in early March, starting March 8 and ending on March 13 until the final four championship, the group will be able to fight for their way to the top. 

For many students, being online can be a struggle, and an adjustment from being in school full time or even half the time. The seniors especially have felt this struggle being their last year on the team. Principato said, “Covid has become an issue in today’s world and has definitely impacted me as a player and having our season shortened was hard. With that being said, I feel like my mindset when I play has been the same. I’m just happy we get to play even if it does have regulations. My mindset is still to go out there and play as hard as I can to win and to help my teammates out as much as I can.”

Addison Rohr, Staff Reporter