Beyond this weekend, Ketchikan High School Activities Director Cole Maxwell isn’t sure how the basketball season is going to go — or how long it will be.
There is a schedule in place, with a Southeast-only approach between Ketchikan, Juneau-Douglas, Thunder Mountain, Sitka and Mt. Edgecumbe high schools. There won’t be any games outside of Region V.
But what happens between now and the season’s end in March, in regards to the novel coronavirus pandemic, is anybody’s guess.
All Kayhi can do is hope for the best.
“Nothing’s guaranteed,” Maxwell said. “Meet the Kings is (Saturday), that’s guaranteed. From there, we’ll see.”
Indeed, the annual Meet the Kings event is slated to jump start Kayhi’s abbreviated basketball season on Saturday night.
But the seats inside Clarke Cochrane Gymnasium won’t be filled to capacity. Only those fans with pre-arranged tickets from student participants on the boys’ and girls’ basketball teams, pep band, or the dance team and cheerleading squad will be allowed to watch in-person.
Each student was allowed two tickets to pass out.
Season tickets packages weren’t allowed this season, and general admission won’t be available at the door.
For those inside the gym, masks will be required. There will be temperature checks and health questionnaires, as well. But no concessions — only vending machines.
But basketball will be back.
“It’ll be a trial run,” Maxwell said. “It’s going to be loud and crazy. And I think there’ll be a lot of just — all of us who are there, getting out everything and being so excited.
“It’ll just be a cacophony of sound. The pep band will never stop playing; the cheerleaders will just go (nonstop). We’ll have somebody on the PA being more of an MC, than just talking about the game. And between all that, there will be kids dribbling around and taking shots.”
Meet the Kings will start at 6 p.m. with the Kayhi junior varsity and Schoenbar Middle School eighth grade teams playing in a mixed scrimamge.
The Lady Kings will kick off the varsity action at 6:30 p.m., and the Kings will take the court at 7:30 p.m.
The event will be broadcast on KPU, and live streamed at www.kgbsd.org/live.
“It’ll be great,” Maxwell said.
Ketchikan is scheduled to start the season against Juneau-Douglas and Thunder Mountain, during a trip that begins on Wednesday in the capital city. That stretch of games against the two schools will be played through next Saturday, Jan. 23.
And from there, every ensuing week through March 6 will have games scheduled. Sitka will visit the First City on Jan. 29-30, for the Kayhi’s boys’ and girls’ home openers. Both Juneau’s schools are scheduled to visit Ketchikan in February.
“We’ll go (into this season) and see what happens,” Maxwell said. “You create the schedule and you’re like, ‘OK, this is our plan.’ And then you’re like, ‘Nope, can’t go this weekend (because of the coronavirus risk factor) — and then the scramble starts, when you start moving stuff. We’ll get in as many games as we can.”
Ketchikan School District’s game plan for this season is, if any opposing community has a risk level considered “high” or “very high” for the coronavirus, the games won’t be played. But if the community is considered “low” or “moderate” — game on.
“Our school plan, right now, is that any community that is (at) a level 3 or a level 4, we will not travel to (that community), and we will not host them here,” Maxwell said. “Most of Southeast’s communities and schools are saying the same thing. If Ketchikan is at level 3, they don’t want us, and they don’t want to come here.”
Saturday’s Meet the Kings event is able to take place with at least some fans in the stands because Kayhi is currently at 100% in-school learning.
Should that drop to 50% in-school learning, games will still continue, but without fans in the stands. Activities will be halted if there is 0% in-school learning, and classes are strictly online.
But for now — at least for this weekend — that’s a worry for another day.
It’s currently a day-by-day approach.
And on Saturday, Kayhi gets to play basketball.
“The kids will get out there and do their thing,” Maxwell said. “Their mental health, right now, just being able to do what they enjoy doing is (good).
“I don’t care if anyone can be in the gym to watch them, as long as they get to play somebody. That’ll be just fine. ... And if we can beat the team in red and black, and beat the team in blue and white, that makes me even happier.”