March Madness condenses the courts


The Highlands basketball birds take a timeout and prepare to get back on the court.

     Dribbling into the 2021 basketball season, the KHSAA and NCAA have been doing all they can do to block COVID-19 off the court. Highlands High school has been following the regulations the KHSAA has assembled and drew up some of their own. The NCAA has announced some very large changes to their regulations and post-season tournaments as well. 

     The NCAA announced that March Madness will take place in the greater Indianapolis area. It will be held at Ball State, Butler, the Horizon League, Indiana, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, and Purdue. Practices for competing teams will take place at Lucas Oil Stadium, home to the Indianapolis Colts. One of the reasons for this was to limit traveling and keep the teams in a confined area. 

     Here in Kentucky, the district, region, and state tournament will all take place in their normal locations. The district tournament is set to kick off on March 15, and the region tournament tipping off on March 22,  followed by the state tournament beginning on March 29 and ending on April 8. 

     In the Highlands Athletic center, things look very different compared to previous years. One of the major differences in the absence of fans and the infamous O-Zone. No general admission is allowed as of now and protocols may change as time passes. Athletes participating in the games will receive two tickets for family members for both teams. Once a family member or friend arrives at the front doors, the admissions staff will hand over a sheet to fill out, asking about one’s symptoms for contact tracing purposes.

     Because of this, the high school is offering the opportunity to watch the games for free on the HHSFilmAndBroadcast youtube channel. The decision came from Principal Matt Bertasso.

     “So our broadcast team is one of the highlights of highlands and one of our student-run groups that you know has really flourished over the years,” Bertasso said, “and we want to be sure we can highlight that so the more viewers we can get doing that, people see there are other programs as well and so we wanna be able to highlight there work and get it out there and make everybody can see it.”

     Precautions being taken by Highlands include using basketball sanitizers which they use throughout the game, making every person present in the gym, excluding the players on the court, wear masks, fully sanitizing the gym after each game, not allowing the visiting team to use the locker rooms, and making the home team use the football locker room to spread out and for more space. The bleachers have markers every 6 feet for each family to sit at, while maintaining a safe distance.