AVON — Riverside High School boys’ basketball’s culture and focus is starting to become something recognizable among players, students, and the Bulldog fan base. A young first-year head coach with an analytical basketball mind has his team at respectable 5-7 following the holiday break. Tuesday night would have been the beginning of one of the new first real tests, but the threat to public health reared its ugly head.
“We were supposed to start district play tonight against Leland, but we’ve gone virtual because of COVID,” said Riverside head coach Sam Monroe. “Sports activities will be canceled for the next two weeks, which means we will have to forfeit our next four games. So, we will be starting district play 0-4.”
The Bulldogs last played on December 17 against Simmons High School. Two more weeks before the next game would mean a month without any real live competition and opposition.
“This time can be both a gift and a curse,” Monroe explained. “If we are able to get all or most of our players tested for COVID and they are negative, then that gives us time to work on quite a bit in practices and get some good workouts.”
“But not matter how much you practice, it’s very hard to create or recreate a game-like environment,” he added.
Riverside’s next game scheduled beyond the two-week window of the virtual COVID protocol will be a January 21 road game against the same Leland Cubs they were scheduled to play Tuesday.
Perhaps this gives the Bulldogs time to continue creating the culture through practice, watching film, and the notable accomplishments this far while building an atmosphere of excellence. “We’re 5-7 right now and we feel good about every victory that we’ve had so far this season,” Monroe said. “We would love to be 7-5 because we have high expectations. In some aspects of what we have been trying to accomplish, we’ve missed the mark and underperformed. But, I like the way this young team’s growth in knowledge and passion for the game of basketball.”