Gray-New Gloucester’s Samantha Fortin, left, drives to the basket as Brunswick’s Logan Brown defends during a tournament game last season at the Portland Expo Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Logan Brown admitted she was starting to wonder if her Brunswick girls basketball team would be ableto practice this winter, let alone play any games.

“I was not expecting to have any games, let alone practice with the way things were going,” the junior guard said. “The online meetings just aren’t the same.”

Brown and many student-athletes across southern Maine received some positive news Wednesday, when the Maine Principals’ Association gave the go-ahead for schools in “yellow” counties to begin practicing immediately, with games to begin soon after.

State agencies and the MPA agreed to reverse course on yellow counties. Previously, schools in those counties were not allowed to participate in athletics. Four counties are currently designated as yellow: Androscoggin, Cumberland, Oxford and York.

The decision, which was a dramatic shift from the policy in place since school started, means Brown and other student-athletes across other yellow counties will begin to practice.

“I don’t know what to make of the season with everything else going on around us, but I’m so excited to get back on the floor and spend some time with my teammates,” Brown said. 

Almost five weeks after Cumberland County went yellow on Dec. 18 teams will be allowed to practice in-person in preparation for some sort of season. 

An elated Brunswick athletic director Jeff Ramich said he got to work right away to set up practice times for his teams.

“We are spending (Thursday) as an organization day to get the word out to the parents, coaches and students,” he said. “We hope to have every team practicing in some shape or form by next week.”

Ramich added that the Brunswick basketball teams could play their first games in the first week of February.

Brunswick coach Sam Farrell talks things over with his team prior to Tuesday’s Class A South contest against Biddeford. Sitting for the Dragons (left to right) are Mackenzie Dorr, Logan Brown, Lexi Guptill, Hannah Fortier and Morgan Foster. (Bob Conn / The Times Record) The Times Record file photo

“I just can’t wait to watch our first game,” he said.

Brunswick girls basketball coach Sam Farrell said he is ready to go.

“The girls have been waiting for this opportunity ever since we had to pause our in-person activities,” he said.

Despite no playoffs, Farrell added the Dragons will be ecstatic to just get on a court.

“Our expectation as a unit is to get better and work hard, the wins and losses don’t have much meaning at the moment,” he said. “We have one senior, so we’re going to do our best to help her have a memorable experience during her final high school season.”

Brunswick boys basketball coach Todd Hanson agreed.

“Our biggest goal is to represent our school and community by playing the game the right way, by playing hard and competing every second we’re on the floor,” he said.

Both Brunswick basketball teams are set to get back into the gym for practice on Friday. Hanson says his team is planning to pick up right where it left off.

“We had two weeks of skills and drills, now we can work on some defense and hold some scrimmages; the guys are ready to go,” he said.

Brunswick girls ice hockey coach Mike Routhier said he hopes his team can get four or five practices before playing games in February.

“We’ll take next week to build some skills and strengthen our conditioning, I’ve already talked to a few players and they’re ecstatic to get back on the ice,” Routhier said.

Freeport athletic director Craig Sickels said the Falcons will start slowly, with skills and drills sessions scheduled for next week. The school will then evaluate whether to ramp up intensity. 

“We’ll start with Phase I next week and will reevaluate our situation weekly to see if we should progress to the next phase depending on what’s advised from our district,” Sickels said. 

Freeport’s Phase I calls for skills and drills sessions to be held with social distancing. Practices are not part of Phase I. Sickels added he hopes the Falcons can play some games, but a lot is still uncertain. 

“We need to keep in mind the health and safety of our students and faculty remains our No. 1 priority,” he said.

Falcons boys basketball coach Bill Ridge said he is prepared to get back to workouts next week.

“Whatever we are allowed to do for practice, I know the guys will be thankful and excited to roll,” he said. 

The Falcons have been holding virtual meetings and sessions for the better part of the past month. Ridge has been impressed with the way his players have handled the adversity.

“The maturity level of these guys is something that stands out to me,” said Ridge. “I know that I wouldn’t have handled this situation as well as they have if I had to deal with something like this when I was their age.”

 

Comments are not available on this story.