Girls varsity basketball resumes after COVID-19 outbreak


Nolen Stevens

TWO-WEEK BREAK: the girls varsity basketball team returned to play March 2 against Hinsdale Central—their first game since Feb. 16.

Sam Bull, Editor-in-Chief

The girls varsity basketball team resumed play Tuesday against Hinsdale Central after a two-week hiatus due to two players testing positive for COVID-19. 

According to sources from the team, one player tested positive after showing symptoms, and another tested positive shortly after due to being in close contact with the first player. Due to the outbreak only occurring within the varsity squad, however, the freshman and sophomore teams were allowed to continue practicing and playing in games. 

For members of the varsity team, initial reactions ranged from shock to frustration. 

My first reaction about not being able to play was complete surprise. I was truly in shock and it took me a lot of time to actually realize that this was actually happening and the heartbreak and disappointment quickly came after,” junior guard Ella Sebek said.

I was truly in shock and it took me a lot of time to actually realize that this was actually happening and the heartbreak and disappointment quickly came after.

— Junior guard Ella Sebek

“At first when I heard the news, I was really frustrated,” junior forward Margaret Fleming said. “From the start, we knew our season would be a lot shorter than normal, and we knew if someone got COVID it would mean cutting the already shortened season in half. So, knowing that, it was frustrating that we had to sacrifice 10 days of the season in order to quarantine.”

District 99 COVID-19 regulations called for every player on the team to quarantine for 10 days, meaning no basketball as well as no school. While she declined comment on the specific details of the situation within the girls’ basketball team, athletic trainer Katie Dobersztyn explained her role as a part of DGN’s “COVID team,” which involves trainers, nurses and administrators, and what protocols are in place for situations like this.

“We work together to manage suspected and positive cases, communicate with parents/administrators/health department, contact tracing, and when students/athletes can return to campus after completing quarantine or isolation,” Dobersztyn said. “Students who test positive or are a close contact to a positive individual must complete the required quarantine or isolation period, or provide documentation of alternative diagnosis, before they can return to campus. The COVID team notifies families when their student(s) can officially return.”

Despite not being able to see each other on the court or in the halls, the team was in communication during the hiatus about everything from the emotions of the season being shortened to how to stay conditioned for when play would resume.  

“We all were communicating about our health and how we can still stay in shape for when we hopefully can return back. A majority of us shed tears, as expected, but we knew we had to be there for each other because we all went through this horrible situation together,” Sebek said. “We just kept checking in on each other because we knew something as awful as this couldn’t ruin the bond we have as teammates and even best friends.”

“I sent out a text in our team’s group chat just explaining I’m here for all of them and that we have to stay strong during this difficult time and be there for each other. I emphasized that we have to stay positive and keep working hard for us to keep striving for what we’ve been working for,” junior guard Ryann Wendt said.

Head coach Stephen Bolt had similar ideas in his messaging to the girls during the break. 

“We really tried to focus on supporting each other through a really tough time. Being there for another, talking about it, and if they were feeling good, I encouraged them to keep their conditioning up the best they could at home so when we did return to playing we would be as ready as we could be,” Bolt said.

Above all else, however, Bolt expressed to the girls his deepest sympathies for the unfortunate situation. 

“I reached out to all of them and told them that my heart goes out to them. I let them know I couldn’t imagine being in their shoes right now, to be put on hold… again. I let them all know that I’m there for them if they needed to talk or process all of this further,” Bolt said.

The break caused the team to miss four games (against OPRF, York, Hinsdale South, and LT), all of which have been rescheduled according to 8to18. To make up for lost time, the team played back-to-back games Saturday (winning 41-11 against Hinsdale South and losing 36-40 to Glenbard West) and has six games in seven days this week. The final two games, both on Saturday, will mark the end of the season for the team. 

Bolt explained that, without much practice for the team this next week, the end of the season will be all about adjustment in the moment.

“We will play a lot of games in a short amount of time with no practice so we will have to adjust and get better as we play,” Bolt said.