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Lady Huskies pause basketball following positive COVID case

SHUTTING DOWN — Harrison Central’s McKayla Dunkle attempts a shot against Edison on Wednesday. -Joe Catullo

The Harrison Central and Bridgeport girls basketball programs have officially pushed the pause button on their current seasons.

The Bulldogs and Huskies are shutting down just their girls teams for two weeks, as each team has one player with a case of coronavirus, which has led to the need for the remainder of the team members to quarantine for two weeks.

Harrison Central received official word of a positive test within its program on Monday and immediately sprung into action.

Games affected by the shutdown included Monday’s game with St. Clairsville, Union Local, Martins Ferry and Bellaire.

On top of four Buckeye 8 games, the Huskies also lost out on the opportunity to play in the Wheeling Hospital Women’s Health event, which they’re scheduled to host on Saturday.

This marks the first major COVID-19 related athletic issue for Harrison Central, which continues to have in-person instruction five days a week. The Huskies did have their home playoff football game go down as a no contest when Rootstown had to withdraw from the postseason due to COVID-19 concerns.

“We’ve dealt with some little things here and there,” Athletic Director Ray Hibbs said. “It’s definitely day by day and you come to work wondering what’s going to happen next.”

Similar to Bridgeport, Harrison Central hopes to reschedule as many of those affected games as possible.

“We’re trying to get them back,” Hibbs said.

The boys basketball, wrestling, bowling and junior high basketball teams are unaffected and will continue as scheduled. But, Hibbs keeps going back to his day-by-day rationale.

“The fall (sports) season went really smoothly for us, but Harrison County has really had a rise in cases of late and obviously as the weather changes and you get into the ‘flu season,’ it’s going to be more challenging.”

Bridgeport, meanwhile, has yet to play a game and is actually embarking on its second shutdown.

All told, the Bulldogs have had multiple players test positive for the virus since practice began on Oct. 23.

Bridgeport returned from its first shutdown on Nov. 23 and practiced throughout last week with hopes to play its first game tonight at Shadyside. Unfortunately, one of the Bulldog players experienced some symptoms, and a test came back positive.

“Sports and athletes are creatures of habits and usually, during the season, it’s go to practice each day and if you don’t practice, you play a game,” Athletic Director Greg Harkness said. “Unfortunately, we’ve been thrown for a loop.”

Bridgeport’s quarantine actually began on Saturday, meaning it will be cleared to return to the floor on Dec. 14.

“I feel bad for all of the kids,” Harkness said. “Sports are something sort of normal, but this just simply isn’t a normal time. And, every school and team is in the same boat. This can happen to anyone.”

Harkness is actually unsure when his team will make its debut. Upwards of seven games could be impacted by the shutdown.

Originally scheduled to have half of their season completed by the time the calendar flips to 2021, Harkness foresees a chance his team may only have two or three games in.

“We’re not making any excuses,” Harkness said. “We just look at it as another hurdle and whenever we are able to finally take the court, we’ll look at that as an accomplishment in its way. I hate breaking it down that way, but sometimes you have no other choice.”

Along with the Shadyside game, other games definitely impacted are against Monroe Central, Frontier, Toronto, Beallsville and River. The Bellaire game, which is scheduled for Dec. 17, is in question.

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