Basketball players reflect on competition delay


Coach Jenkins talked to the girls program members about the practice plan (Photo courtesy of Clay Shaver).

Sammy Knapp, Staff Writer

The delay of contact sports continued for two months before finally coming to an end. The basketball teams at Milford High School had to find new ways to prepare for the season.

What used to be a nearly 5-month-long season has now been reduced to a number of weeks. Although Milford basketball will look exceptionally different this year, each athlete remained hopeful for a chance to play in some capacity this winter.

With a majority of the states currently allowing sports to continue, Michigan athletes anxiously awaited for the “okay” to begin contact sports again. On Jan. 30th, more than 2,000 people from across the State of Michigan rallied together outside of the capitol to make their voices heard about the further delay of winter contact sports. With safe ways to bring contact sports back into the lives of Michigan high school athletes, the ‘Let Them Play’ group successfully delivered their message.

Because contact was not allowed during basketball, the Milford varsity basketball coaches, David Gilbert and Michael Jenkins, had to find new ways to guide their teams in preparation for the delayed season. “We have done lots of shooting and learned new offensive and defensive principles,” said Gilbert. Focusing on basic plays and further developing skills was important for both teams during the delay. “We have been doing a lot of conditioning and changing up the drills, so we aren’t doing the same thing every day,” said Jenkins.

Underclassmen have next year’s season to look forward to. For the seniors, this may be their last time stepping out onto the court. Although things look very different for the start of the season, both teams have something great in common: the seniors have shown distinguished leadership. Coach Gilbert said, “My seniors have all been super positive and approached each day we get to practice as a blessing.” Gilbert said that his team has been living by the motto, “we get to,” which is very fitting for the times we are living through. “My seniors are the best,” said Jenkins. “They’ve impressed me every day with the way they have handled this situation. They are leaders to the truest sense of the word.”

Although the basketball season had been on hold for nearly two months, the MHS athletes remained optimistic that they would be back on the court again.

“It is important to keep the team positive,” Senior Joe Bjorkman said before the delay came to an end. “We just need to take one day at a time and focus on what we can control.” There have certainly been many unknowns throughout the year, and players from each team had to find ways to stay mentally tough.

“It can be difficult to remain positive, but seeing how hardworking and passionate the whole team and coaches are about having a season, I can’t help but have high hopes myself,” said Senior Josie Caldwell.

For many of the Milford players, basketball is more than just a game; it teaches teamwork, perseverance, and most importantly, it builds lasting bonds and friendships. Milford basketball athletes are happy that their season can continue, no matter what the delay looked like.

The boys varsity team stood for the National Anthem before their home opener (Photo courtesy of Jerry Rea).