HS basketball players playing in a game.

The Cotopaxi High School basketball seasons are underway. We interviewed the coaches and a couple of players for their thoughts on the season.

 The HS Girls basketball team is coached by Troy Thornton and this is what he had to say, “Our expectations are to make it into the state tournament again this year. We have a good group of returning athletes and some eager younger players. Our biggest challenge will be the loss of court time due to COVID-19. A shortened season means less time to get in game shape and work on new skills. Our first two games showed how out of shape we are. We start strong but as we get tired we cut corners and allow ourselves to revert back to bad habits.”

 Senior Shealee Coleman – “This year’s basketball season may be short, but each practice we have and every game we get to play is a blessing. Every moment and memory made is extra special this senior year. It is something to truly treasure because basketball this year was not promised; each practice and game is also still not promised every day because of COVID’s impact on the world. Plans and regulations could get changed at any minute. COVID has affected the game with the fast-paced season, current mask requirements, and limited fans. Practices have been sped up, but we are all keeping each other accountable to hustle and push hard through all of the obstacles in order to reach our goals in a condensed amount of time. No matter the length of the season and the distraction that COVID has put on our lives, we are all beyond grateful for the opportunity to step on the court and play the game we all love.”

 Senior Koylynn Gulliford – “This season is the last season for us seniors, so I am very grateful that we are getting the opportunity to play, and I want it to be the best that it can be. I want to go to state again like we did last year, and I want all of the younger girls to experience what that feeling is like. This year is different, however, with all of the restrictions and new rules we have to follow for COVID. Having only a few fans in the gym or, in some cases, not being able to have fans come watch our games at all is very different for us because in the past we would get a lot of our energy from our fans cheering us on. As per the masks, we just say it is another part of our uniform. It was difficult to breathe with them while we were playing at first, but now we are used to it and rarely notice it during the games. Wearing the masks does slow the game down a little bit, but we are adjusting to the new way the game is played. I am excited to see what the rest of the season has in store for us.”

 The HS Boys basketball team is coached by Tom Lang and this is what he had to say, “The year is going very well so far, the boys are enjoying playing basketball, and even with the restrictions that we have on playing and fans, they are having a lot of fun. Our seniors are doing a great job in keeping the team focused on what is important, they include Peter Belt, Jonah Bertolino, Jacob Maestas, and Collin Whipple. The team strength is that we are focusing this year on playing as a team, with all 5 kids on the court working together … we don’t have one or two “star players” so to speak, we have a solid team of basketball players and athletes and they are doing a great job of working together on and off the court. Team goals for the rest of the year; keep having fun playing basketball, the fact we get to play is huge for the boys … second, keep our focus on playing as a team, with all of our starters getting equal stats each week so that we reach our potential by the end of the year.

 Senior Jacob Maestas – “This season does mean a lot to me because it is my last. Going through the adversity we have faced is something that we have faced all year. It is important to remember to try and still enjoy this final basketball season because it is the last we will have. Having to deal with all the extra precautions that we have done is important because it is what still allows us to play. Wearing masks may not be something that I enjoy, but it has not been as bad as I thought it would be. Having the opportunity to play is important to me, and I will do whatever I have to in order to play.”

 Senior Peter Belt – “This season is the last time I will have the opportunity to play basketball at Cotopaxi. I'm excited to be part of this team and work through the struggles and success that we will have this season. COVID-19 is definitely changing the atmosphere when it comes to our audience, but my team and I are grateful that we even have an opportunity to play in the first place. I'm looking forward to what we can accomplish this year as a team.”

We wish the Pirate basketball teams the best of luck with the rest of the season!! GO PIRATES!!