Biggest point of the game? They're playing prep sports again
While at times you could hear a pin drop, what mattered most was the squeak of sneakers on the basketball court.
The boys from Glenbrook South beat Hersey 69-49 in nonconference action on Wednesday in Glenview, the long-awaited season debut after a second wave of COVID-19 shut down Illinois High School Association winter sports schedules in November.
Wearing masks, sitting on chairs where the bench was supposed to be, playing in front of no fans or bands or parents, the point was the visiting Huskies and the host Titans were playing. A game. Against an opponent.
"As competitors we're always invested in winning and losing. However, I think considering the last 49 weeks since high school basketball was played, it felt good to be back," said Hersey coach Austin Scott.
"There were definitely times it felt normal emotionally for the players and obviously for me as a coach and I'm sure Coach (Phil) Ralston would say the same thing. And then there were times that were kind of paranormal, where you're waiting in the cafeteria watching the sophomore game."
Schools have jurisdiction over attendance, and Glenbrook South athletic director Andy Turner has opted for a better-safe-than-sorry approach and will adjust as the season progresses.
"It's really weird without the whole GBS student section here cheering us on, especially like you get first view of when we ran in," said Titans junior Nick Martinelli, who scored a game-high 29 points with two breakout dunks.
"Usually there's cheering and loud music. It's just a super-different situation but I think we've adjusted to it pretty well."
Glenbrook South, coming off a 29-5 record last year, broke open a tight game in the second quarter. Three-point artist Cooper Noard scored 22 points for the Titans. Hersey was led by Ethan Roberts with 19 points and Andrew Wagner with 13.
"This is about the first moment of normalcy that I've had in my life for 11 months, and it's the same with these kids," Titans coach Ralston said. "So I'm just going to try to cherish the moments we have, I'm going to try not to be my normal self, who keeps himself up until 3 in the morning worrying about things."
Hersey's Drew Zagorski pointed out the oddity of having no jump ball to start the game, just an inbounds pass to start it. After the game ended there was no handshake line, only milling around and a couple waves before both teams left the court.
And it was great.
"It's just nice to be out on the court with all my friends and teammates again," Zagorski said.