For the first time since their state tournament game in March, the Halifax County High School boys basketball team reunited Monday for conditioning.
They were the first athletics team at the high school to go back to conditioning after COVID-19 halted all activities for almost eight months.
The Halifax County School Board voted to allow the student athletes and coaches to return to conditioning at a Sept. 28 meeting.
But then, at an Oct. 26 meeting, ED-8 representative Walter Potts Jr. questioned the legality of that vote. Ultimately, it was determined last week that the September vote was legal and the return to conditioning could proceed.
Under the Virginia High School League’s Championships +1 schedule, practice is set to start Dec. 7 and the first contest date is Dec. 21.
But, there’s still one more hurdle to cross before the teams are cleared to play: a vote at Monday’s school board meeting.
Halifax County High School principal Michael Lewis will be seeking permission from the board to allow the school to participate in the upcoming sports season approved by Virginia High School League and Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam.
If that vote is passed, it’ll remove that final hurdle for sports teams.
On Monday afternoon, 10 players were met by head coach Sterling Williams and assistant coach Nathan Lantor to participate in drills and conditioning.
“It felt great to be around them,” Lantor said. “Knowing that everyone is healthy and safe, it just felt great,” he added.
Some of the players on the team had ways to stay in shape throughout their time away, including AAU basketball and other travel teams. However, for some this was the first time they have been able to get any organized conditioning in more than half of a year.
Lantor said several more players would return to conditioning in the coming days after getting their required physical.
Conditioning is one of the major issues facing the team. Since Monday was the team’s first time conditioning in some time, the coaches cut some of the regular conditioning drills in half to reduce the intensity.
It was during these drills the coaches realized how much work needed to be done to get the players back in game shape.
Losing just three members of the regional championship team to graduation, the core players have returned. That’s a highlight other state teams aren’t able to boast.
First team all-state guard Kevon Ferrell is back for his senior season along with all-region sophomore Kameron Roberts. Seniors Jhamad Lawson, Keshawn Wells, Davon Jennings and Jaden Waller are back also.
The familiar faces are a help to the coaches because the they already know the offense and defense they are going to run. Also, the team chemistry they built during last year’s run to the state tournament remains intact.
With the decision looming on Monday from the school board, Lantor is hoping the players are able to have a chance for a season.
“We just want them to have a chance to finish out their dreams of being a Comet basketball player,” said Lantor.