E-Rabs hoops “hoping for the best”

East focusing on individual drills while donning masks
Published: Jul. 16, 2020 at 10:42 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - High school athletes may not be able to compete this summer after the IHSA altered its phase four safety guidelines, but teams are still making due with what they’ve got.

East basketball continues its work towards a NIC-10 championship.

“I was thinking we weren’t going to get in the gym this summer at all, but at least we made it into the gym,” said senior Pashens Harris.

Harris did not have much hope that he would be dribbling inside the East gym this offseason.

While they would normally be competing in the E-Rabs summer league, the senior will take basketball in any form the state is willing to allow.

“Even though we’re not playing games and there’s not a lot of contact, the conditioning is worth it,” Harris said. “It’s going to be worth it when the season comes up.”

That question of “When?” is all anyone can talk about at the moment.

East head coach Roy Sackmaster believes there should not be a rush to get back into sports, but he is also hopeful.

“It’s less than ideal trying to do an aerobic workout and trying to compete with a mask on, but, at the same time, we told them this is the reality of the world we live in these days,” said Sackmaster. “If we want to have a season come November or December, we might have to play with a mask on.”

Sackmaster gives major credit to his players. The coaching staff left it up to them if they wanted to still come in and practice with masks on and every single varsity athlete was for it.

“It just makes you want to get to the season that much more and hope that there’s something that we can make of it,” Sackmaster said. “Whether it’s 10 games, 20 games, or 30 games, if there’s a trophy rewarded at the end of it, we’d like to be the team that can have a chance to win that trophy.”

As for that holy grail that is the season, Harris is keeping his head down and trying not to think about it.

“I’m hoping for the best,” Harris said. “I’m trying not to think we might not have it, but you never know.”

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