A Different Look

JAIME CAMPOS/Staff photo Ella Marshall and the Gloucester girls basketball team opens up the season on Friday at Winthrop. 

 

The COVID-19 pandemic has already brought some odd and unprecedented changes to the high school sports landscape, which was evident in the abbreviated fall 2020 season.

With the abbreviated winter high school sports season set to get underway with sub varsity action on Monday and the Manchester Essex boys basketball team opening up the winter 2021 season on Tuesday at Lynnfield, get ready for some more odd and unprecedented changes that will affect both the players and the fans. 

Once again, teams will only be playing conference or league schedules and there are no state tournaments for any sport. Indoor track and field has been moved to the "Fall 2" season while wrestling has also been postponed to either the "Fall 2" or spring season. All winter games are also currently subject to change. As we saw in the fall, teams may have to put the season on pause at times if someone is a close contact or contracts COVID. Some teams in the Northeastern Conference are also just starting preseason practices this week, significantly pushing back start times while others (Lynn English and Lynn Classical) have not gotten permission to play at all.

The three Cape Ann Athletic Directors, Bryan Lafata in Gloucester, John Parisi in Rockport and Jordan Edgett in Manchester Essex, deserve a ton of credit for the way they have had to navigate through the constant moving parts during the 2020-21 school year and winter brings different challenges than the fall brings.

For starters, all sports are indoors, meaning strict social distancing measures must be in place. Basketball and hockey players have to wear masks at all times and will be socially distanced on the bench area with hockey players even sitting in the stands in some rinks. That makes it nearly impossible for coaches to coach from the bench, a change that every team will need to adapt to.

On the court and the ice the changes are not as restrictive to the game as they were in the fall, which is a good thing. Hindsight is 20/20, but after seeing the fall play out, most of the in game restrictions for soccer and field hockey were probably not necessary. The games will look much more familiar in the winter.

In basketball, the opening tip-off has been eliminated in favor of a coin flip. There are no inbounds underneath the basket and no "stack" plays allowed on any inbound plays. The number of players in the paint during a free throw attempt has also been restricted.

In hockey, most of the changes have to do with the locker room and bench areas. On the ice, referees will be looking to limit scrums along the boards and in front of the goals. Plays will be blown dead if there is a prolonged scrum.

It's in the scheduling where the real quirks show, most notably in hockey. Just like the fall, only home team fans will be permitted to attend games with two family members per player.

The Gloucester boys and girls hockey teams have a combined five games at Talbot Rink this winter where they will be the away team. That means no Gloucester fans allowed in the stands for a game in Gloucester.

The reasoning is actually quite understandable. Schools such as Beverly, Danvers and Marblehead play their home games at Endicott College and Salem State University, which are unavailable for high schools to use this winter. The Talbot Rink stepped up and lent a helping hand having those three schools host a few games at the rink, including those against Gloucester. Parents already have limited access to games and it's only fair that the parents from those schools get the same opportunities to watch their kids play, as quirky as the situation is.

When it comes to swimming, both Gloucester and Manchester Essex will not have to hit the road at all this winter. That's because every swim meet is being held virtually. Each team will swim a time trial in its home pool, the times are then compared with the opponent's times and a winner is declared.

Of course, one big snow storm and you have yet another scheduling nightmare on your hands. Players, coaches and fans are just going to have to roll with the punches this winter. It's probably going to be a bumpy ride. 

 

 

CAPE ANN WINTER SPORTS SCHEDULES (All subject to change)

Gloucester Boys Basketball

Date Opponent Time

Jan. 8 vs. Winthrop 6:30 p.m.

Jan. 12 vs. Peabody 6:30 p.m.

Jan. 15 vs. Masconomet 6:30 p.m.

Jan. 19 at Marblehead 6 p.m.

Jan. 22 at Beverly 6 p.m.

Jan. 26 vs. Winthrop 6:30 p.m.

Jan. 29 at Winthrop  6 p.m.

Feb. 2 at Danvers 4 p.m.

Feb. 5 vs. Swampscott 6:30 p.m.

Feb. 9 vs. Lynn Classical 6:30 p.m.

Feb. 11 at Saugus 7 p.m.

Gloucester Girls Basketball

Date Opponent Time

 

Jan. 8 at Witnrhop 6 p.m.

Jan. 12 at Peabody 7 p.m.

Jan. 15 at Masconomet 6 p.m.

Jan. 19 vs. Marblehead 6:30 p.m.

Jan. 22 vs. Beverly 6:30 p.m.

Jan. 26 at Winthrop 6 p.m.

Jan. 29 vs. Witnrhop 6:30 p.m.

Feb. 2 vs. Danvers 6:30 p.m.

Feb. 5 at Swampscott 7 p.m.

Feb. 9 at Lynn Classical TBA

Feb. 11 vs. Saugus 6:30 p.m.

Gloucester Boys Hockey

Date Opponent Time

Jan. 9 vs. Peabody 5:30 p.m.

Jan. 16 vs. Swampscott 6 p.m.

Jan. 20 vs. Winthrop 6 p.m.

Jan. 23 vs. Beverly 6 p.m.

Jan. 27 at Marblehead at Talbot Rink 6 p.m.

Jan. 30 vs. Masconomet 6 p.m.

Feb. 3 at Danvers at Talbot Rink 6 p.m.

Feb. 6 at Masconomet 5:10 p.m.

Feb. 10 at Beverly at Talbot Rink 6 p.m.

Feb. 13 vs. Marblehead 6 p.m.

Feb. 17 at Winthrop 2 p.m.

Feb. 20 vs. Danvers 6 p.m.

Gloucester Girls Hockey

Date Opponent Time

 

Jan. 13 vs. Winthrop  6 p.m.

Jan. 16 at Masconomet 7:20 p.m.

Jan. 18 vs. Medford 3 p.m.

Jan. 20 vs. Peabody 8 p.m.

Jan. 23 at Newburyport 7 p.m.

 

 

Jan. 27     at Marblehead at Talbot Rink    4 p.m.

Jan. 30  at Medford 3 p.m.

Feb. 3 at Beverly at Talbot Rink 4 p.m.

 

Feb. 6 at Winthrop 12:40 p.m.

Feb. 10 vs. Masconomet 4 p.m.

Feb. 13 at Peabody 4 p.m. 

Feb. 17 vs. Newburyport 5 p.m.

Feb. 20 vs. Marblehead 4 p.m.

 

Gloucester Swim

Date Opponent Time

Jan. 13 vs. Salem 6:30 p.m.

Jan. 19 vs. Beverly 6:30 p.m.

Jan. 23 vs. Danvers 1:30 p.m.

Jan. 27 vs. Swampscott 6:30 p.m.

Feb. 2 vs. Lynn Classical 6:30 p.m.

Feb. 6 vs. Lynn English 1:30 p.m.

Feb. 10 vs. Marblehead 6:30 p.m.

Feb. 20 vs. Peabody 1:30 p.m.

Gloucester Gymnastics

Date Opponent Time

Jan. 16 vs. Salem 7 p.m.

Jan. 18 vs. Hamilton-Wenham 11:30 a.m.

Jan. 19 at Malden 5 p.m.

Jan. 21 vs. Peabody 7 p.m.

Jan. 30 vs. Malden 3:40 p.m.

Feb. 20 at Essex Tech 2:30 p.m.

Rockport Boys Basketball

Date Opponent Time

Jan. 5 at Amesbury 4 p.m.

Jan. 8 vs. Triton 5:45 p.m.

Jan. 11 at Hamilton-Wenham 6 p.m.

Jan. 13 vs. Georgetown 4 p.m.

Jan. 15 vs. Lynnfield 5:45 p.m.

Jan. 19 at Ipswich 5:45 p.m.

Jan. 22 vs. Newburyport 5:45 p.m.

Jan. 26 vs. Manchester Essex 5:45 p.m.

Feb. 2 at Pentucket 6 p.m.

Feb. 4 at North Reading 5:45 p.m.

Rockport Girls Basketball

Date Opponent Time

Jan. 5 vs. Amesbury 5:45 p.m.

Jan. 8 at Triton 5:45 p.m.

Jan. 11 vs. Hamilton-Wenham 5:45 p.m.

Jan. 13 at Georgetown 4 p.m.

Jan. 15 at Lynnfield 4 p.m.

Jan. 19 vs. Ipswich 5:45 p.m.

Jan. 22 at Newburyport 5:45 p.m.

Jan. 26 at Manchester Essex 6 p.m.

Feb. 2 vs. Pentucket 5:45 p.m.

Feb. 4 vs. North Reading 5:45 p.m.

Rockport Hockey

Date Opponent Time

Jan. 16 at Newburyport 2 p.m.

Jan. 17 vs. Pentucket 10 a.m.

Jan. 18 vs. North Reading 12 p.m.

Jan. 20 vs. Lynnfield 5 p.m.

Jan. 23 at Triton 2 p.m.

Jan. 27 vs. North Reading 8 pm.

Jan. 30 at Hamilton-Wenham 7:30 p.m.

Feb. 3 at Pentucket 4:30 p.m.

Feb. 7 vs. Hamilton-Wenham 4 p.m.

Manchester Essex Boys Basketball

Date Opponent Time

Jan. 5 at Lynnfield 5:45 p.m.

Jan. 8 vs. Ipswich 6 p.m.

Jan. 11 vs. Newburyport 6 p.m.

Jan. 15 at Pentucket 6 p.m.

Jan. 19 at North Reading 6 p.m.

Jan. 22 vs. Triton 6 p.m.

Jan. 26 at Rockport 5:45 p.m.

Jan. 29 vs. Hamilton-Wenham 6 p.m.

Feb. 2 at Georgetown 4 p.m.

Feb. 4 vs. Amesbury 6 p.m.

Manchester Essex Girls Basketball

Date Opponent Time

Jan. 8 at Ipswich 5:45 p.m.

Jan. 11 at Newburyport 5:45 p.m.

Jan. 15 vs. Pentucket 6 p.m.

Jan. 19 vs. North Reading 6 p.m.

Jan. 22 at Triton 5:45 p.m.

Jan. 26 vs. Rockport 6 p.m.

Jan. 27 vs. Lynnfield 6 p.m.

Jan. 29 at Hamilton-Wenham 6 p.m.

Feb. 2 vs. Georgetown 6 p.m.

Feb. 4 at Amesbury 4 p.m.

Manchester Essex Swim

Date Opponent Time

Jan. 8 vs. Ipswich TBA

Jan. 13 vs. Triton TBA

Jan. 20 vs. North Reading TBA

Jan. 29 vs. Lynnfield TBA

Feb. 5 vs. Hamilton-Wenham TBA

 

 
  

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