AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) — It’s the sounds of a basketball practice that makes life feel a little more normal for high school teams in Colorado.
“It feels great to be back in the gym. We had a little access back in the fall, but we have been pretty much shutdown completely since Nov. 11,” said Shawn Palmer, Rangeview High School head boys basketball coach.
Yes, things are a little different and even feel a little different to these high school basketball players.
“Controlling your breathing is the hardest part. I don’t really like the masks, but it’s for our safety, so you gotta do what you gotta do,” said Ismael Dembele, Rangeview senior.
The saying, “Ya gotta do what you gotta do” goes beyond masks as Aurora Public Schools have decided to test athletes every two weeks for COVID-19, including the boys basketball program at Rangeview.
“We are grateful that the district was able to provide the resources for us to get tested. It does create a little peace of mind, as we had our first COVID testing and the boys and girls basketball teams all tested negative,” said Palmer.
It’s obvious the Raiders are willing to do whatever it takes to try to chase a state title this season, especially because they couldn’t defend the 2019 title a season ago when the pandemic first began.
“It was taken away from them last year, and they were going to win it.” said Dembele. “I feel like this year it puts a lot of pressure on us.”
The past is the past, however, and this Raiders team looks a little different after graduating multiple seniors in 2020.
“These guys might have a chip on their shoulder, but it’s for different reasons,” said Palmer. “It’s not because of what they were able to do last year, but it’s what their expectations are for themselves this year.”
As of right now, Rangeview boys basketball will play the first game of the season on Jan. 27.