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COVID kayoes Heat girls


December 17, 2020

Hot Springs girls basketball is in a holding pattern right now, how long that lasts is anyone’s guess this COVID-19-addled season.

Savage Heat coach Richard Jackson said Tuesday that his entire team is now under quarantine after one of the players tested positive early this week. He was reached at home in-between doing some paperwork and watching the Outdoor Channel.

It’s a good thing there is a long preseason this year, giving teams time to deal with the effects and after-effects of the novel coronavirus.

“We have five practices in but will obviously be off for a while now, how long I am not sure,” he said. “The school has gone to online learning until after the new year, this could be an interesting season.”

Saying he hopes to be able to return to practice December 21 or maybe on December 28, the two dates he has been given by school officials, Jackson thinks his team of 11 players – eight from high school and three from eighth grade – should be able to get the 10 required practices in before actual games begin in early January.

Whatever course this season takes, junior Katelyn Christensen, a first team District 14C All-Conference pick last year, looks to be the Savage Heat’s court leader.

Seniors Lizzy Fisher, Emma Rae Rassmussen and Sam Carr, junior Moira Longergan, sophomores Lily DeTienne and Josie Uski and freshman Lauren Aldridge are the high school players, and Brooke Jackson, Georgia Uski and Brynn Courville are the three eight graders eligible to play this season.

Coach Jackson said that boys and girls will be traveling in separate buses to the same games this season, and that players from each team will not be allowed to stick around and cheer for their classmates – all part of the COVID-19 story of 2020.

“It is going to be one of those years where you play things day to day,” he said. “Right now does not look too promising but we will keep working at it and see where it takes us.”

The Heat enjoyed one of the best seasons in program history last season, finishing with an 18-5 record and an appearance in the Western C divisional tournament.

Sydney Jackson and McKennzie Cannon, both first team 14C picks, and Brianna Gray, a second team selection, all graduated from that squad, leaving Christensen as the sole returning all-conference player.


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