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Expecting plenty of bumps in the road

Commentary

Last Monday, it seemed like the sun was shining a little bit brighter than usual.

As the day went on, and I received no word of a cancellation of Tyrone’s boys basketball game against Mountain League rival Central, my anticipation of being back in a gym and covering high-quality high school basketball rose.

The game lived up to those expectations, and I expect both Tyrone and Central to have very solid seasons. I spoke with some parents who were allowed to attend, the referees prior to the game and both coaches and a few players. Everyone was just thrilled to be there.

As I wrapped up my game story, I got a text message from Central coach Paul Frederick that his school was going virtual and that his team had to shut down.

That also meant new Central girls coach Drew Ebersole didn’t get to making his coaching debut the next night in Tyrone, and new Philipsburg-Osceola boys coach T.J. Anderson didn’t get the chance to see what kind of strides his Mounties have made by playing at Central last Thursday.

I was scheduled to cover both of those games, and the excitement of Monday morning was replaced by a sense of dread that situations like this could, and most likely will, pop up throughout the remainder of the season.

It’s much worse for the kids, who keep thinking a return to “normal” might just be around the corner and continually keep having the rug pulled out from under them. It’s so common now that it’s hard to really look that far ahead to anything knowing it can all be canceled even just minutes before tip-off.

The mask situation

Prior to Tyrone’s game against Central, Golden Eagles coach George Gripp had a conversation with Frederick about what the policy on masks would be that night.

Central’s school district has decided to make wearing masks in athletic contests mandatory while Tyrone has not. The Central players began the game with masks, and players and coaches from both teams wore them on the bench, but most of the players that had them on to start the game had them covering only their chin minutes into the contest.

The referees wore masks with a whistle inside them, and some now have handheld “whistles,” and none of the referees in Tyrone seemed to have an issue. However, according to Erie-area sports broadcaster Bob Greenberg, a District 10 masked official fainted while doing a recent game and required medical attention.

It’s certainly something everyone will have to keep an eye on as the season progresses.

District 6 playoffs

District 6 released its plans for the basketball playoffs recently which include closed eight-team tournaments in Class 1A, 2A and 3A boys and girls competition.

Class 4A will see a five-team boys tournament and a four-team girls field. The two Class 4A District 5 teams, Bedford and Somerset, will be included in those fields if they qualify.

In Class 5A, District 4’s Selinsgrove and Shikellamy could be included in the four-team boys field for the district title if they qualify, and in girls competition, also a four-team field, District 8’s Brashear and Obama Academy and District 9’s DuBois could also qualify.

In the state’s biggest classification, 6A, Altoona will have to come out of regional competition with District 8’s Taylor Allderdice and District 10’s Erie and McDowell in both boys and girls competition.

Only the champion from each bracket in each classification will advance to the abbreviated state playoffs.

Michael Boytim can be reached at mboytim@altoonamirror.com. Follow him on Twitter @BoytimMichael

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