KAUKAUNA (WLUK) -- The offseason for high school basketball teams is important as programs are always transitioning to a new team.
However, this offseason has obviously been different with COVID-19 shutting down sports since mid-March.
Last week, though, schools were given the OK to start workouts, provided the steps they have taken to get back protect athletes and coaches from the virus as much as possible. The Kaukauna boys and girls basketball teams have been at work for more than a week and it's good to be back.
"Been a long time for not only coaches but players to be back in the gym," boys basketball coach Mike Schalow said. "A typical spring would probably get us certainly into some open gyms and then into our summer program, leagues and tournaments and kids playing AAU. We were very excited come the end of June when we were able to get news through Phase 1-type effort we could get back into the gym."
The basketball teams are doing conditioning work on the football field, lifting weights and going through drills on the basketball court. Wherever they are the players are just happy to be in the company of their teammates.
"It's been great to have the whole team back together," said guard Maddy McCabe, a senior on the girls basketball team. "It's been three months since we have even seen our friends, most people at least, so I haven't seen some of these girls in a while so it's been great to get back together."
"It's great to see everyone in the gym, obviously," said guard Chris Morgan, a junior on the boys basketball team. "We were able to have a lot of people in the gym following safety protocols for COVID-19 but just to have a ll the guys back in one place working towards our goal again, it's a great feeling."
Because of COVID-19 nobody knows what will happen this school year. A decision on fall sports has not been made and there is no guarantee winter sports will occur.
After having the basketball postseason canceled and spring sports, athletes just want to get back to competing.
"I'm really hoping for a season, just so we seniors can get together on the court and be together one last time," said forward Chloe Van Zeeland, a senior on the girls basketball team. "I just want it for the younger grades, for freshmen, it's their first year and they don't know either. They never had the experiences we had so I really hope we get to go back."
For now a step has been taken in the right direction.
Follow Doug Ritchay on Twitter @dougritchay