‘Tis the season for hoops (finally!)

Thu, 02/04/2021 - 5:30pm

The Block Island School’s basketball teams are used to playing in front of no spectators when they play games off-island, but when they play at home it’s a different story. Traditionally, crowds fill the gymnasium on winter Saturdays for an afternoon of basketball that often includes four games: girls junior varsity, boys junior varsity, girls varsity, and then in what is usually the big finale, the boys varsity team. Not this year, though.

Due to Covid-19, there are strict rules around interscholastic sports, and no spectators are allowed at games. But the teams play on.

The girls’ varsity team plays in the Rhode Island Interscholastic League Division III. They kicked off the season on January 22 in an away game against Hope High School to much acclaim. Not only did they win handily, it was the very first basketball game to be played in the RIIL this year, and the game was featured by The Providence Journal in an article the following day.

Since that first game, the girls haven’t done quite as well. With just eight players on the team, they have now played four out of the seven games scheduled for the season, losing the past three. Losing, however, has never deterred the spirit of the Lady ‘Canes who always seem to give it all they have.

According to safety rules set by the RIIL, all players wear face masks to keep them safe from Covid, and the Block Island School has a testing program in place for any student athletes to participate in, although it isn’t mandatory.

The testing program is available to all students and staff at the school and is administered by school nurse Liz Dyer with the help of Linda Closter who has volunteered to assist with the testing. Principal Kristine Monje told The Block Island Times that the school was offered the opportunity to take part in a pilot testing program that was available for three districts and “we said ‘why not?’”