Basketball team is forced to leave behind old traditions amid pandemic


Photo courtesy of: Kylie Bridgeman Bridgem

Nija Olagbemiro, ‘23 and SENIOR Sydnee Sheppard

As winter sports at WHHS have remained in session,  there have still been constant and rapid changes  to adjust to this season. 

The basketball team, both boys and girls,  began  training last summer, running open gyms to prepare for the upcoming winter season. However, because of COVID-19, training could have been temporarily paused at any moment. 

Varsity player Sophia McCon, ‘22, decided  not to limit herself to training at the WHHS campus so that she could strengthen her skills even further. 

“This year I prepared by being in the gym or having my hand on the ball seven days a week. From quarantining to finding outside training or being in my garage for an hour or two, my hand was on the ball. I also picked up yoga to work on loosening up and picked up jump roping to work on endurance and footwork,” McCon said. 

Even though there were ways to compensate for their limited training and practices, there were other vital experiences that the players were restricted from due to the pandemic. 

“The pandemic has made it harder for our team to develop chemistry because we can’t really see each other outside of basketball,” SENIOR Collin Miller said.

Athletes and coaches alike are disappointed to miss out on some of the most important aspects to their success, such as the connection with the student body, as a result of the pandemic. 

“I feel [the pandemic] affected our team a lot because we aren’t allowed to have a packed Nut House to cheer us on and I think our team feeds off the energy of the crowd,” varsity athlete Javion Bostic, ‘23, said. 

Due to the pandemic, the team learned the significance of creating bonds with the teammates because it was limited to them.  

“I miss the team meals and the time we spent together off the floor. I think the time you spend off the court has a huge impact on how a team plays,” Miller said.

The pandemic temporarily paused some of the players’ favorite traditions that were the foundation of the team becoming a family. 

“One thing I miss dearly is the hype bus rides to the games and also us being in the locker room listening and dancing to music before the games,” varsity player Nija Olagbemiro, ‘23, said.

This season may have thrown unexpected rules and regulations to the players, but most of them found a way to remain hopeful and stay motivated throughout the year. 

Some of the players decided to adopt a new mindset regarding their season currently and possible new changes that could occur. 

Olagbemiro decided to find the silver lining of the difficult situation that unexpectedly approached players. 

“The way I remain hopeful is by thinking things could be way worse. OHSAA and the governor could have said no winter sports and me with the others would not be able to play the sports we love,”  Olagbemiro said. 

Miller expressed his dedication on the court, regardless of COVID, to try and attain an optimistic mindset. 

“We still have a great group of guys that come in, work really hard, and want to win despite the pandemic,”Miller said. 


Athletes have been faced with many challenges throughout the season, but continue to push themselves and convey a hopeful while pragmatic attitude. 

Most of the athletes are beyond grateful to still have the opportunity to play, even if it’s tied to set protocols. 

“I am truly thankful I am able to play basketball this year because in the beginning I thought the season would be canceled,” Olagbemiro said, “So even though things are a little crazy and hectic at least I get to play the sport that makes me happy.”