We were warned.
COVID-19 protocols and positive tests have disrupted the high school and middle school basketball seasons at both Arab and Brindlee Mountain.
It was almost predictable with the predicted second surge of cases impacting most areas of the country, particularly north Alabama.
While all local teams have been impacted to some degree – some from within, some because of other teams’ positive tests – it’s the boys teams who are presently dealing with the brunt of the pandemic.
Arab’s varsity and JV boys teams are under quarantine until Dec. 15, same as Brindlee Mountain’s varsity boys squad. The Brindlee Mountain girls teams had their own issues with cancellations over the past few weeks but played (and won) Friday against West End.
That was a late pick-up game because the Lady Lions’ scheduled opponent, Holly Pond, was under quarantine.
Barring last-minute revisions, the Lady Lions played at Area 13 foe J.B. Pennington Tuesday night (see below) and will play at area opponent Susan Moore on Friday night. The JV boys were scheduled to play this week, also, but they did not Tuesday night.
Meanwhile, all of Arab’s high school games were postponed last week but the girls teams – and the ninth grade boys – returned to action Tuesday night (see story above).
“It’s getting pretty widespread,” said Seth Kelly, Brindlee Mountain’s boys varsity coach.
The Lions have been under quarantine since the middle of last week and are scheduled to return on Tuesday, probably not soon enough to play Asbury that day. They are scheduled to play at Woodville next Thursday (Dec. 17) but that could change, according to Kelly.
“We’re trying to reschedule the games we’re missing,” Kelly said.
The priority presumably will be to reschedule area games. That’s what Arab did as it took time off to deal with several positive tests. The Knights moved their Area 15 home game against Buckhorn from Nov. 30 to next Thursday (Dec. 17).
Arab varsity coach Justis Jonus, like his players, is under quarantine until next week. Arab JV coach Brad Kitchens, who actually tested positive for the virus, spent his final day in isolation on Tuesday.
“We’ve had about half the team test positive, but I don’t know that we have anyone who has actually been sick,” Kitchens said. “They’re in quarantine because of close contact, including Coach Jonus.”
Players under quarantine at both schools have been given similar marching orders to follow during their two-week break.
“We’re staying in touch with them, and anybody not showing symptoms, we’re trying to, at a minimum, keep their conditioning up,” Kelly said. “We want them to stay in shape and shoot at home, if they can.”
Coaches feel pretty much helpless during this precarious time and mostly just want their players to get or stay healthy.
“Those who are showing symptoms, we want them to follow their doctor’s orders, rest, take it easy and drink lots of water,” Kitchens said. “Those who can, can go out and shoot and maybe jog a little bit.
“The main thing is, we want them to get well.”
Totally unrelated to the Arab High School boys’ issues, Arab Junior High’s seventh and eighth grade boys teams did not play Tuesday. That’s because Cullman’s boys teams are under quarantine. Arab’s seventh and eighth grade girls teams played as scheduled at Cullman.