BISMARCK (WCIA) — The Bismarck-Henning-Rossville-Alvin basketball team had a new sense of urgency at Monday’s practice. The Blue Devils got the news on Friday they’d been hoping to hear for months, there will be a season after all. Gov. Pritzker and the IDPH unexpectedly announced the return of all youth and high school sports for regions in Phase 4.
“I think from an emotional standpoint, our kids need this,” BHRA head coach Gary Tidwell said. “It’s great to be back, we’ll just take it a day at a time, and get the most that we can out of each day.”
The last time the Blue Devils took the court in a game was March 10, 2020. They were undefeated heading into the Class 2A UIS Super-Sectional against Sacred Heart-Griffin, one win away from a trip to the state tournament and Final 4. The Cyclones won, ending BHRA’s historic season, just two days before all winter state championships were canceled due to COVID-19. It ended up being the end of all high school sports in 2020.
“We took sports for granted before and it’s taught me to play every moment the best I can,” BHRA senior guard Brody Sexton said. “Just be able to play with my friend one last time it’s really heartwarming.”
“Makes us want to compete in the regular season just as hard as we would in a regional or sectional championship, so we’re working just as hard,” BHRA senior guard Elijah Tidwell said.
BHRA comes into this season with several key returners, including Tidwell and Sexton, but also lose their best player, Drew Reifsteck. The First Team All-State selection averaged 22 points, 5 assists, 4 steals and 4 rebounds for the Blue Devils as a senior, helping them to their first sectional title in school history and first undefeated regular season, finishing the year with a 34-1 record.
The IHSA is expected to announce its plans for the rest of the school year on Wednesday, following the Board of Directors regularly scheduled meeting. Basketball was originally a winter sport, with its season scheduled to end Feb. 13. Several seasons will have to be adjusted, with 20 sports still yet to be played this school year.