Panther winter sports teams resume practices today


Fairbanks’ Braylon Green goes up for a basket during a game from the 2019-20 season. The school’s winter sports teams are returning to practice today after a COVID-19 pause. (Journal-Tribune photo by Sam Dillon)

Fairbanks High School winter sports teams returned from a coronavirus-related pause today.
That leaves the Panther boys basketball team very few days to prepare for its 2020-21 season opener at Triad on Friday.
“This is basically going to be like starting all over again,” said Panther bench boss Justin George.
“That’s because we’ve gone more than three weeks without a practice.”
George said his main concern has been the health and safety of his players.
“The one good thing about this pause is it has allowed some of our guys to again get healthy,” he said. “We’ve had to deal with some COVID-19 issues on our team, so we just want everyone to stay safe.”
The coach knows the majority of his athletes have been doing all they can to work on their game away from school facilities.
However, George’s main concern is the conditioning aspect of the game.
“Although we’ll have to re-learn some things we worked on prior to the shutdown, the basketball skills can come back pretty quickly,” he said. “I think the biggest impact this pause has caused is in conditioning.”
The Panther coach said his team will concentrate on getting back its “game legs” once practices resume.
“We made very good progress during our early practices before the shutdown,” said George. “The biggest improvement I saw was in our rebounding and positioning on defense.”
The season is slated to begin at neighboring Triad on Friday.
What the rest of the schedule looks like for the next month is up in the air.
Ohio Heritage Conference teams in Madison County – including West Jefferson and Madison Plains – have put their winter sports on hold beginning today and going until Jan. 1.
Last week, the Madison County Health Department mandated a shutdown of interscholastic sports until the first of the year.

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