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Greg Jones

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Basketball teams beat weather


– In this, one of the worst winters we’ve had recently, it could be easy for high school basketball teams to lose consistency and rhythm amid the postponements and cancellations. Teams, though, have actually done a good job of um, weathering, the seemingly constant snow and almost-fixed-below-freezing temperatures.

“It hasn’t been affecting us too badly,” Homestead senior guard Sydney Buck said. “We’ve been allowed to practice on most of our days off, and if we couldn’t practice most of the girls got into a gym and got shots up and stuff. We’ve been working through it pretty well. And luckily we haven’t missed any games because of weather.”

The consequences for some have amounted to, just like the weather, near zero. Taking breaks from shoveling, players are showing their dedication to their games by braving the elements to get to a gym. The only negatives here are when the temperature gauge goes below zero.

“Personally, it really hasn’t affected me at all,” Blackhawk Christian junior forward Joey Morlan said. “Any day that we don’t have school, and/or practice, I make it a point and a priority to get in a gym get up shots or even an individual skills workout. This really helps keep me in the flow and on top of all schedule changes.”

As school was called off almost as many times at it has been in session in the last 2 to 3 weeks, games and practices have also been lost. The games can be rescheduled, but those almost equally valuable practices times are pretty much as fragile as a snow drift up against a subzero-degree breeze.

“As a team it can be hard having unplanned breaks,” Morlan said. “It can make for not as sharp or sloppy practices. It can also affect our physical conditioning level. Lastly, it could also affect our game readiness. Any time you have inconsistencies with practice it could translate to inconsistencies in your game.”

So how do teams stay sharp?

“Our team has been fortunate in that we’ve been able to practice when conditions have improved, so we feel like we’ve been able to keep that rhythm you hope your team has reached,” Norwell girls coach Eric Thornton said. “At the same time, a day off occasionally doesn’t hurt us late in the season.

“We’ve also had several injuries, one of them being a concussion. Because we’ve had to reschedule two of our games, it gives these players a little more time to recover while not missing as many games.”

And complaining and worrying about the weather or missed chances on the court seems pointless.

“I try not to get worked up about missing practice time because it is something I cannot control,” Warsaw boys coach Doug Ogle said. “I tell our players this situation will allow us to be fresher at the end of the season.”

See, the bright side. Which means warm weather should return (someday).

Greg Jones is the high school sports editor for The Journal Gazette and has been covering sports in the Fort Wayne area since 1998. He can be reached by email; phone, 461-8224; or fax 461-8648.