Through COVID Concerns Green Hope Men’s Basketball Stays Elite

Through COVID Concerns Green Hope Men's Basketball Stays Elite

Davis Cuffe, Sports Editor

Even with COVID cancellations, a shortened offseason, and having to play in masks, Green Hope basketball continues to be elite. Our Green Hope Falcons are currently 4-1 and nearly undefeated after wins against Green Level and Riverside. This year, our Falcons are an experienced group, composed of eight seniors, three juniors, two sophomores, and one freshman. After finishing the 2019-2020 season 18-10 and losing to Garner in the playoffs this Green Hope team is back in 2021, but unfortunately, the fans aren’t. New COVID procedures mean that the games will be played in nearly empty gyms with limited fans. These new procedures and rules also mean that players have to play the games in masks this year but with seasons getting canceled all around the country, many players are just happy they can play at all. Some COVID procedures have even brought changes to the game’s rules. NCHSAA COVID regulations include, eliminating jump balls, tip-offs and player handshakes, reducing bench personnel, sanitizing basketballs, extra timeouts to help players breathe with masks on, and new free-throw rules that give officials six feet of space. Even with new changes this year Green Hope stands at 4-1 and third in our conference. While still social distancing, we were able to interview varsity basketball head coach, coach Ellis about the upcoming season:

In what ways will the COVID-19 Pandemic affect this year’s basketball season?

“This year due to COVID-19 the basketball team missed its summer workouts, the jamboree that we usually host the first Saturday in November and the first 10 games of our regular season.”

With eight seniors on the team this year, you have an experienced squad, what are your expectations for this team?

“The expectations of the team are for the seniors to lead by example, three of those eight seniors played significant minutes or started last year, and accounted for 70% of our offense, so we expect them to lead the way and to help prepare the 2021-2022 team.”

Right now, you guys are 4-1 and nearly undefeated, how do you plan to keep this up through the season?

“It is going to be our defense that wins us ballgames this year and our willingness to share the ball. When we play the defense, we can play, and when we work as a team it is difficult for anyone to beat us.”

How has playing in masks affected how you guys prepare and play?

“Guys need more breaks than usual, they sometimes find it hard to breathe, and guys are constantly trying to play and keep the mask above their nose which can sometimes become a struggle, but the guys don’t mind because at least it gives them a chance to play.”

Thanks for talking to us Coach Ellis, and good luck this season! Although you can’t come to support our Falcons in person, you can get quarterly score updates from @greenhopefalcons on Instagram. For a more in-depth alternative, you can watch both JV and Varsity games live or on-demand by subscribing to the NFHS Network. Be sure to support your Falcons this Tuesday when they face off against Jordan at 6:30 PM!