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Winter weather wreaking havoc on high school sports schedule

Baltimore County school buses sit in a bus lot after school was cancelled for snow.
Baltimore County school buses sit in a bus lot after school was cancelled for snow. (Kim Hairston / Baltimore Sun)

Just enough snow fell Wednesday morning to close schools and postpone most every athletic event throughout the metro area.

So far, the winter hasn’t brought any major storms, but there’s been enough snow and cold to miss school days and practice time, and to reschedule events. Baltimore City has been hit the hardest.

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While the No. 3 Roland Park girls basketball still faced No. 1 St. Frances, most games were not played Wednesday. Notable boys basketball postponements included No. 1 St. Frances at No. 8 McDonogh (rescheduled for Jan. 29), No. 13 St. Vincent Pallotti at No. 3 John Carroll, No. 7 Milford Mill at New Town, and Centennial at No. 10 River Hill. In girls basketball, No. 9 John Carroll at No. 6 Western was postponed for the second time.

Makeup dates for most games have yet to be set.

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At Dunbar, boys basketball coach Cyrus Jones Sr. was working with the school’s athletic director Wednesday morning to find a makeup date for the Poets’ game against National Academy Foundation. It’s the second time the game has been rescheduled and Dunbar has two other games to be made up.

Jones said the Poets will likely have to play three games per week the rest of the season to make up the games already postponed.

“It’s really been difficult and it’s not only the games being [postponed], but, at the same time, the practices being canceled. So it affects the opportunity for the team to grow, and you’re limited.”

The majority of the boys and girls basketball teams in the city are in the same tough situation. There’s still plenty of dates to play games with the final play date for public schools being Feb. 22. Most of the remainder of the season, teams will have to play three games a week. Not only will practice time be limited, but Jones said his team’s approach changes.

“It affects you because you don’t want to do too much at practice where the kids won’t have enough to give you over the course of a game,” he said. “So you really want to limit yourself in reference to conditioning and just keep their basketball skills polished.”

The defending Class 2A state champion Patterson boys are still trying to find their groove this season. The No. 14 Clippers are 5-5 with five games already postponed and they’re set to play three games in three days starting Thursday.

Earlier this month, they were out of school for two straight days, then lost to No. 1 St. Frances the next, had Sunday off and another school closing Monday. On Tuesday, Patterson was scheduled to play a big game against Baltimore County rival Lake Clifton, a team in the same boat, but the schools agreed to play Wednesday instead to get a practice day in.

“It’s extremely tough in terms of trying to gain any momentum, especially with a young team,” Patterson coach Harry Martin said. “With a nine-man roster and eight healthy players right now, playing three days in a row you want to try to juggle things and get guys rest. It’s very difficult.”

As in other winter seasons when teams had to leave their routines because of things out of their control, everyone is in the same situation and is doing their best to adjust.

“You can’t make up the five days you lose with 20-hour practices, so you just have to deal with the hand your dealt,” Lake Clifton boys basketball coach Herman “Tree” Harried said.

At City, the Knights have to make up two boys basketball games, one girls basketball game and one wrestling match. Only wrestling, a multiteam meet at City, was postponed Wednesday. The basketball games still have to be made up from previous snow days.

City athletic director Rolynda Contee, who is also the girls basketball coach, said her teams will now play three games a week at times. They might also play more games during midterm exams, which begin Friday — a stretch when she tries to keep the schedule light.

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“We just can’t really afford to move around any more games,” Contee said. “Everyone’s been flexible. Of course, we have no choice but to be flexible between trying to find a venue for the games, buses and officials. Everything gets out of whack. With transportation and officials, they have to get to the scheduled contests and then try to squeeze in the rescheduled contests.”

However, Contee said this is a typical winter for athletic directors trying to reschedule a handful of events and said there’s still time for everything — if the weather cooperates.

“If we can get away with no snow for two weeks, we’ll be fine,” she said.

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