Covid changes rearrange Greensburg Salem basketball schedules

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Wednesday, January 13, 2021 | 5:48 PM


Greensburg Salem has not played a girls basketball game since Feb. 8 of last year.

That means it will be nearly one calendar year since the Golden Lions faced an opponent for a meaningful competition when they finally take the floor Jan. 23.

At least that is the planned date for the team’s first game. It could change, of course, with the covid-19 pandemic constantly laying waste to plans and demanding fluidity from all walks of life.

A schedule without change these days is an anomaly.

The girls’ program was shut down for 10 days beginning Sunday because of a covid case on the team. Last month, the Golden Lions had to quarantine as a team for 14 days because of covid exposure.

“My biggest concern is just, seeing us in action again,” coach Rick Klimchock said. “We shut down once for 37 straight days. We are mentally tough enough to handle it again.”

The school’s boys basketball team also was delayed in restarting practice but has caught up.

Greensburg Salem initially held up winter sports from mid-December until late January. While teams sat dormant for weeks, the district eventually opted to restart activities Jan. 4, the same day as the rest of the WPIAL, following the lifting of Gov. Tom Wolf’s three-week pause of high school sports.

Both teams are trying to stay upbeat and focused as they attempt to get untracked.

The Golden Lion boys are the only WPIAL Class 6A team yet to play a game.

“Everything feels a bit disjointed, but I know that everyone else is in the same boat,” boys coach Mark Zahorchak said. “The teams we play the first couple weeks may have a game or three more under their belts than us but, if things proceed without any postponements, we should get into the swing of things soon enough.”

Both teams needed to complete the proper number of practices before beginning competition. The PIAA first said teams had to log 15 practices but chiseled that number down to 10.

After the statewide shutdown, teams had to get at least four practices in if they already completed 10.

The boys have practiced more than 20 times already.

The girls won’t return to practice until Jan. 19, at which point they will need three more practices to satisfy the PIAA. They had four practices in November and six in January.

“I absolutely love the grit and resolve of this team,” Klimchock said. “They are wonderful and care about each other. They love every minute of being together.

“My biggest goal is to help keep everyone positive.”

The boys open the season at 12:30 p.m. Saturday at home against Valley. The Golden Lions travel to Hempfield Tuesday for their long-awaited Class 6A opener in Section 3.

During covid times, teams have been more likely to relish and take delight in the time they have together than to complain about the down time and schedule changes.

“We’re just appreciative that the school district allowed us to get back to practice at the same time as everyone else and to play games two weeks sooner than they originally had said,” Zahorchak said. “If we had not been able to do both, or even play games before Jan. 26, it would have been a lot more difficult.”

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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