Woodland Park Basketball 2021: New Season, New Look

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Will Passink, Reporter

The 2020-2021 Woodland Park High School basketball season is fast approaching though it has a significantly different look this year. In a typical year, the season would have already been in full-swing since November 11th but this date was changed as a result of the coronavirus. This season was initially supposed to be starting on January 4th, with the first game against Mitchell on January 7th. This also has already been pushed back. The new date set for the team to have their first practice is on January 25th while the first game is still being rescheduled. Varsity head coach John Paul Geniesse elaborated on this by saying “a typical season would have started November 11th and we would have had 19 games plus a district tournament. This season, we are looking at a January 25th start date and 12 games with no district tournament, it will go straight to the state tournament.” On top of these scheduling changes, the Panthers will also be playing against new opponents. “We are dropping down to 3A this season and will be playing in the ultra-competitive Tri-Peaks Conference” said Geniesse. Another factor that is also completely new to high school basketball this season are masks. Unlike some of the sports from earlier this year such as golf and football, where masks were not required while playing, in basketball, every player, coach, and referee will have to wear a mask even if they are playing. Commenting on the mask rule Coach said, “We are just extremely happy to be playing and will do what is necessary to give our student-athletes a chance at competing.” This same attitude about the mask rule was expressed by Senior Tyger Ciccarelli who said “Obviously the masks make it harder to breathe which isn’t great, but I haven’t played my favorite sport in a gym in a long time so I don’t care what we have to wear as long as we get to play.” With all these changes this season is surely going to be an interesting one and Coach Geniesse hopes it will be a successful one as well. As with the start of every new season, there are going to be some new players and returning players who have developed and are stepping into a new role. Tyger Ciccarelli, Sonny Ciccarelli, and Jackson Dornsbach are just a few of the many players that Coach is excited to see progression in. He also added, “We have a really good group of kids program-wide and I am excited to watch them all grow throughout the season and see them impact our program for the positive.” When asked about his hopes for the season Tyger Ciccarelli replied, “I really hope our season won’t get canceled halfway through. I hope we are able to win lots and just have fun.” Coach Geniesse answered the same question saying, “The hope of any season is that you can improve and build upon the years from the past. Our ultimate goal is to be playing in the state tournament this season and helping our student-athletes develop well beyond the basketball court.”