The Morse girls basketball team works through some drills Monday at Bath Middle School. Eli Canfield/Times Record

The opening of the winter sports season was far from normal but a welcomed sight nonetheless, Morse High School senior Abby Carpenter said Monday afternoon.

“It’s not necessarily the way we would prefer, but it was great to be able to get out here with my teammates and coaches,” she said.

Monday marked the first day high school winter sports teams could hold individualized skills and drills workouts. The Maine Principals’ Association previously pushed the start of practices to Jan. 4.

The workouts began Monday on the same day Maine reported a new high with 427 COVID-19 cases.

Coaches and student-athletes were excited to be able to get some work in.

The Morse basketball teams did some conditioning and some shooting drills at the middle school.

“We got some good work done here (Monday), these types of drills will actually help us in the long run,” said Morse girls assistant coach Wilfred Laffely, who was running the workout Monday.

The boys followed a similar path during their first workout of the season. They took some time to condition and stretch before picking up a basketball, then got to work on some layups and shooting drills, utilizing all six hoops in the gym.

Assistant head coach Nick Green said conditioning will be one of the biggest hurdles to overcome in the early going.

“I think one of the biggest things we have to think about just making sure these guys are ready to go and we fine tune our skills, a lot of these guys haven’t done much for the past eight months,” Green said.

Teams will also have to get used to wearing masks on the court.

The Morse girls basketball teams work through a dribbling drill Monday at Bath Middle School. Eli Canfield/Times Record

“We’ll just try and work with it, I know we will all follow the rules and do what it makes to make sure we have a season,” added Green.

Morse wasn’t the only Midcoast school to open a winter sports season.

Brunswick athletic teams got going as well, with the girls basketball team holding a small workout session.

“It’s just an awesome feeling to be able to get on the court with the team, even if we can’t practice together as a whole,” said Brunswick junior guard Logan Brown, who led the Dragons in scoring last season. “We have all been waiting for this day to come for a long time now.”

Brunswick girls basketball coach Dan Dearing said the skills and drills workouts provide coaches some time to focus on some fundamentals.

“We’re mainly going to focus on our fitness and ball handling this week, then our shooting and defensive motions individually next week,” Dearing said. “The biggest thing that we have to get used to is doing all of this with a mask on.”

Brunswick boys basketball coach Todd Hanson was equally excited to get back on a floor with his team.

“To be back out on the court with the players and the coaching staff was an awesome moment for sure,” he said.

Hanson has one goal in mind for the team during these next few weeks before they partake in a full practice.

“We want to improve our skill development each day until we can get into the normal scrimmage setting,” he said.

The Dragons spent most of their practice conditioning while working on their shooting.

“It felt great to be able to get up some shots and just be back in the gym environment, even if it is a little bit different,” said Brunswick senior forward Evan Kilfoil.

The Mt. Ararat girls basketball team spent time discussing safety protocols before holding some individual drills and fitness stations.

“We will continue to incorporate individual fundamentals as we progress in the season in hopes that in a few weeks we are able to hold a regular practice to prepare for competition,” said head coach Julie Petrie.

In ice hockey, the season is starting much later this season. Some teams have had problems finding available ice time as well.

Morse boys basketball players work through a conditioning drill Monday at Bath Middle School. Eli Canfield/The Times Record

The Brunswick hockey teams are spending this week practicing in the Topsham Indoor Sports Complex, doing various types of training and conditioning.

“We’re doing some dry land training involving muscle conditioning and getting our fitness up for the season,” said Brunswick head coach Mike Routhier. “We hope to be able to get on the ice soon, but this is important for us to do.”

Routhier said that he had three times booked for the team to get on the ice at Casco Bay Arena in Falmouth, but they have yet to lay down the ice. Routhier and the Dragons are continuing to try and secure ice time at other facilities as well.

Like ice hockey, indoor track teams also face challenges of finding facilities that could host practices and meets.

The Brunswick indoor track and field teams held a virtual meeting Monday to outline the new modifications, and will hold two optional practices later in the week.

“We are taking this approach to get everyone on the same page regarding the modifications, as well as to see where everyone’s fitness level is currently at,” said Brunswick track coach Heather Hoisington.

 

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