Within minutes of the grand send-off of our state-bound basketball girls, the OSSAA announced that they were postponing all OSSAA sponsored activities for this weekend. This announcement not only impacted the Longhorns basketball team, but many other teams across the state.
What was the cause behind the cancellation? On Wednesday evening, the Oklahoma City Thunder basketball game was cancelled, due to an opposing player testing positive for the Corona Virus. The next day, it was discovered that a second player from the Utah Jazz, Donovan Mitchell, also tested positive for the virus and had conducted a workout at the Del City High School gym on Tuesday evening. It is reported that he only had contact with the head coach, the coach’s son, and one player from the Del City team. The Del City basketball coach tweeted a picture of the player with his son in the Del City High School gym just one day before the NBA star tested positive for the virus.
Upon hearing this news, the OSSAA was in immediate contact with Del City officials and the State Health Department to get the exact information. Once confirmed, this quickly escalated their decision to cancel the tournaments. “When it was determined that he [Donovan Mitchell] did test positive, and that he did have contact with students at Del-City, that absolutely had a lot to do with this decision.” David Jackson, Executive Director.
The OSSAA staff deliberated only cancelling the 5A & 6A tournaments, and keeping the other divisions open. However, when they considered the possibility of others within the OKC metro who could have had potential contact with the player or the Del City school members who were exposed, they could not take the risk. “We don’t really know what we are dealing with. When you are in that situation, the best thing to do for young people or really anyone is to err on the side of caution,” stated Guthrie Superintendent and OSSAA Board of Directors Vice-President Dr. Mike Simpson.
We don’t really know what we are dealing with. When you are in that situation, the best thing to do for young people or really anyone is to err on the side of caution.Dr. Mike Simpson, Guthrie Superintendent and OSSAA Board of Directors Vice-President
One of the OSSAA’s concerns was the impact the potential spread of the Corona Virus could have on smaller communities. “For a lot of these, especially small schools, the whole town has picked up and moved here for the weekend. To expose them or potentially expose them, I think was something we had to take into consideration,” said Cecilia Robinson-Woods, Millwood Superintendent and OSSAA Board of Directors President.
At this point, the OSSAA is still planning to reschedule the tournament. They do not have a time frame in mind, but they stated that it would be a while. “We haven’t decided when those activities will be rescheduled,” said David Jackson, OSSAA Executive Director. Many school districts and colleges in the state are extending their spring breaks, in an effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. There is no word if the Jones School District will be taking such precautions.
As for the Girls Basketball team, they did make it to the State Fairgrounds yesterday, despite the cancellation of their game just 10 minutes before they arrived. Head Coach Jenni Holbrook posted this photo of her longhorns, along with the statement, “We STILL made it to the BIG HOUSE—- they didn’t let us in—- but we made it. All tournament games postponed until further notice— I can guarantee you this….WE WILL BE READY whenever it is! #nootheroption#noturningback”
“We STILL made it to the BIG HOUSE—- they didn’t let us in—- but we made it. All tournament games postponed until further notice— I can guarantee you this….WE WILL BE READY whenever it is! #nootheroption#noturningback”Jenni Holbrook, Longhorns Girls Head Basketball Coach
Coach Holbrook said she and her players were very disappointed when they heard the news, some of them wiping away tears before taking the photo above. The team is staying optimistic though, with a regular schedule of weightlifting for the girls who will be in town for spring break and a traveling workout schedule for those who will be on family vacations. While they are waiting on a date, they will make sure they are ready.
Even with the disappointment of the cancellations, Coach Holbrook said she and her team were blown away by the town’s support at the pep rally on Thursday. With over 100 people in attendance, the turnout was amazing! Many of the girls on the team have never experienced that kind of support and excitement for what they are doing. They have watched from the outside as the football team made their way to playoffs, but never have they experienced it on their own. When asked if she expected the same turnout from the community when the games are rescheduled, Coach said, “I know Jones will. Our community is so awesome!”
Our community is so awesome!Jenni Holbrook, Longhorns Girls Head Basketball Coach