Lions basketball deal with illness and injuries over winter break

Kendrick Murphy/CG Sentinel

With high school students on winter break, both the Cottage Grove boys and girls basketball teams were each scheduled to participate in tournaments spanning Dec. 28-30. 

The Lady Lions were slated to play three games at Stayton in the SCTC Holiday Classic while the Lion boys were preparing to travel over to Sisters to participate in the Sister Holiday Shootout. 

The night before the boys’ departure, the team was alerted of a COVID-19 positive test within the program forcing them to cancel the trip over the mountain and making the team pause activities for 10 days. 

“My first reaction was to check in on our players to make sure they were alright,” said the boys’ Head Coach Seth Hutchison. “Then my second reaction was, I felt terrible for these guys. You know, the seniors — I feel terrible for the team. because, we were off to a really good start and we were kind of starting to hit our stride. We beat Newport pretty well. We’re going into a little break, and then we were gonna go to Sisters and be tested against Banks; but we’re excited to get back and play a good North Bend team.” 

A day later on Dec. 28, the girls traveled up to Stayton high school but lost the first game of the SCTC tournament against the host school Stayton 29-66. 

Following the game, the girls were scheduled to play against Woodburn on Dec. 29. but were unable to continue the next two days after amassing too many injuries on top of players who were already sick. The team decided to head home early.  

“We traveled with eight that could play,” said girls Head Coach Erin Royse. “Four of them were JV kids swinging up to play varsity. But now we’re taking things day by day as things continue to change and our players are being so fabulous, just learning to be flexible. You know we don’t have a lot of control over this, but I like how resilient our players are and they’re just learning to roll with it and be good teammates.” 

The next scheduled games for the Lions are on Jan. 4 at home against North Bend and two days later against Creswell on the road on Jan. 6. Both coaches are ready for their teams to return to action and move past their speed bumps as both teams prepare for a four-games-in-five-day stretch.