Five consecutive days of no school might have sounded fun at first, but now high school coaches and athletes around the Treasure Valley are starting to feel antsy — and stressed.
“At this point, it’s just becoming so difficult to even anticipate when we are going to be able to play, just because we’ve been let down so many times,” Mountain View senior girls basketball player Abby Kreiser said.
“Our first semester’s coming to an end pretty quick here, and it’s kind of been more stressful than anything just anticipating exactly when we’re going to get back, having to pass our finals along with having to just be prepared to play on the spot.”
If the two-time defending 5A state champion Mavericks are feeling stressed, it’s safe to say other team teams are feeling the pinch, too.
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Between the holiday break, game postponements and missed practices, conditioning and team chemistry have become a major concern.
“It’s definitely a concern, just shaking that dust off,” Kreiser said. “You don’t really know how everyone is going to come out and perform not having played in a while. At practice, you can only do so much to simulate what it’s going to be like in a real game.”
While everyone agrees student safety is a priority, the postponements add another element of difficulty to an already busy time of year.
It has been 21 days since the Skyview girls took the court. They’ve had four games postponed since then.
“When they cancel school, you are not allowed to practice,” Skyview coach Cindy Pasta said. “So this is the hard part. We’ve got a lot of kids who are going to be probably more injury prone, because they haven’t practiced and they are not able to condition, besides shoveling snow.”
Pasta worries about over-scheduling players throughout the next few weeks as teams try to cram in makeup games before district tournaments begin at the end of January.
“I texted my kids and I told them to get online and find a cardio video that they can do in their living room,” Pasta said. “That’s probably what I am most concerned about is them losing their conditioning.”
With record-setting snow, the 17th annual Rollie Lane Invitational in Nampa last weekend dropped to a field of 46 schools. Boise, Borah and Capital were among the teams that did not attend after the district canceled school Friday.
“They were very disappointed. ... They all would have loved to compete,” Boise coach Manny Enrico said.
The Braves’ last competition was Dec. 16, and their last regular practice was Dec. 21.
“They call me and ask, ‘Hey coach, what do I need to do?’” Enrico said. “I give them some things they can do at home, exercises, little routines, to keep them moving.”
BALANCING ACT FOR REFEREES
Schools need referees to set a makeup date, leading to an exhausting juggling act for Darren Krzesnik, the District Three basketball commissioner.
Krzesnik oversees 56 schools in the Treasure Valley, including six in Oregon. The weather has left him struggling to manage which of his 160 referees he can send where.
In his 10 years as the district commissioner, he said he’s never seen anything like this season.
“I’ve jumped off a bridge here in Homedale three times today,” Krzesnik joked.
Krzesnik has encouraged schools to schedule games for Mondays and Wednesdays, traditionally the lightest days on the basketball calendar. The latest round of postponements Tuesday led schools to ask about Friday’s availability, but Krzesnik had to turn them down.
“There are no more officials available at all. We are tapped out,” he said.
The cramped scheduled has forced Krzesnik to get creative, scheduling games for mornings and early afternoons on Saturdays, which allows crews to pull doubleheaders.
“Our officials are doing a great job stretching their abilities,” he said. “We’ve got crews working at 10, 11, 1:30 and then turning around and working 4, 6, 7:30 that night.”
WHAT HAPPENS NOW?
As unpredictable as the Valley’s weather has been — and there is more wet weather and freezing temperatures in Wednesday’s forecast — there are several certainties facing student-athletes.
In Boise and West Ada, first semester finals are next week. Traditionally, schools have not scheduled games on those days.
Not this year.
There are 37 boys and girls basketball games on the schedule for Monday and Tuesday — many of which are makeup games — with the possibility of more being added.
“It feels like you are starting over, like it’s the beginning of the season and kids are out of shape,” said Borah boys coach Jeremy Dennis, whose Lions last suited up Dec. 17 against Rocky Mountain. “We made some good strides against Rocky Mountain, and we haven’t been able to build on that.”