San Juan County basketball squads get opening practices underway

Matt Hollinshead
Farmington Daily Times
Jerona Murphy passes the ball to Danielle Johnson (23) during the Bloomfield Lady Bobcats' first day of basketball practice on Monday, March 22, 2021, at BHS's north gym.

FARMINGTON — After months and months of waiting just for the OK to step onto the courts again, San Juan County’s basketball squads finally took the floor for the first day of practices on Monday.

“It’s really good to be here. We’ve been waiting for so long. It’s amazing to be able to play under these circumstances. It’s not the way we want to play, especially (our) senior year, but at least we’re getting to play,” Bloomfield Lady Bobcats guard Adrianna Stevenson said.

It’s been just over a full calendar year since teams were able to have live scrimmage or game action, when COVID-19 entered New Mexico on March 11, 2020 — right in the middle of the 2020 state basketball championships.

The tournament was allowed the proceed with the state semifinals and finals, but without fans. Then, everything stopped. As cases kept increasing going into the fall and the winter, sports-related activities ended up being halted.

Bloomfield girls basketball coach Tom Adair communicates with his team during the Lady Bobcats' first day of practice on Monday, March 22, 2021, at BHS's north gym.

Fast-forward to Monday. Nearly 40% of New Mexicans have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, which gives San Juan County teams extra confidence the revised spring season will actually stick.

Piedra Vista girls basketball coach Joe Reed said his squad took advantage of the prior months it was allowed to do open gym and shootarounds within pods, and the reality of Monday’s opening practice finally set in.

“The girls continued to work hard, now the day’s finally here,” Reed said.

Reed said it’s starting to feel as though normalcy’s returning, but also reinforced that his squad must stay on top of safety protocols to ensure it completes a full season.

“It’s going to be survival of the fittest,” Reed said.

Matt Hollinshead covers sports and business for the Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577, and on Twitter at @MattH_717.

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