E.A. Sports Today

Weaver girls sidelined

Undefeated girls basketball team goes into COVID-19 quarantine until Dec. 2 after positive test; Champions bracket also impacted by virus

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

WEAVER – Just as the Weaver girls basketball team is getting comfortable with its best start in five years the rug gets pulled out from under it by an unseen opponent.

The Lady Bearcats are the latest Calhoun County sports team to go into quarantine for COVID-19 after a positive test was found within the squad. The results were disclosed late Thursday night so the team will be off the floor through Dec. 2.

They are 3-0 with wins over Ashville, Faith Christian and Munford Thursday night. They started 5-0 in 2015.

“You start practicing and getting in a flow and start playing good together and then, bam,” coach Gary Atchley said. “I felt like we started to get in basketball shape and now we have to take a two-week layoff. It’ll feel like starting over in the area games.”

The Lady Bearcats are the third Weaver team and second basketball team in Calhoun County to be quarantined this athletics year. The Bearcats’ football and volleyball teams were sidelined for two weeks in the fall and the Pleasant Valley boys basketball team had the start of its season delayed by the virus.

“Every time my phone rings or dings you’re scared to death as a coach you’re going to get the call that one of your kids got it,” Atchley said. “I think every coach in the state is living hour by hour to see what’s going to happen. You try to get some momentum going and then this slaps you in the back of the head.”

The quarantine only affects the girls team at Weaver. The Lady Bearcats were scheduled to play six games during the quarantine period, including three in Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Round-Robin and an area game at Pleasant Valley. Unless some of the regular-season games they lost are rescheduled, they aren’t scheduled to play again until Dec. 8 against Piedmont.

Weaver principal Andy Keith has informed Lincoln of the Lady Bearcats’ situation. Lincoln officials were working on a revised bracket Friday.

Keith said his staff has been proactive to excess in its efforts to keep the school clean through the pandemic and called the girls basketball team’s situation “unfortunate.”

While the possibility of a statewide shutdown of winter sports similar to what occurred last spring exists as COVID cases continue to rise Keith doesn’t believe that’s in the cards at present.

“There were forfeits in football and they didn’t shut football down,” he said. “I don’t think anybody’s making a decision and saying we’re going to shut completely down. I could be completely wrong, but everything’s been left up to local schools because everybody’s different.

“Do I think they’ll come out and say we’re shutting it down right now? No. There’s always a possibility. But I don’t think they’ll do it right now. When you start shutting sports down, schools down, that’s a domino effect that affects so many people in so many ways.”

The bracket for the Champions Girls Thanksgiving Classic also has been impacted by the virus.

Hokes Bluff has had some players go into quarantine Friday and others come out until Sunday, so the Lady Eagles will forfeit Saturday’s opening-round game to Ohatchee.

Hokes Bluff will move into Monday’s 4:30 p.m. loser’s bracket game against either Alexandria or Pleasant Valley, while the Lady Indians will play in the semifinals Tuesday at 8 against either Alexandria, Pleasant Valley or Handley.

In order to keep the first day’s play moving, Saturday’s Alexandria-Pleasant Valley game will now be played at 6 p.m.

Cover photo by Greg Warren

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