Boy’s basketball flourishes, even without fans present

Marco Squitieri

The boys varsity basketball team began their season by steamrolling everything in their path. This, combined with electric support from fans at both home and away games, had the Tigers in an incredible rhythm.

A wrench was thrown into their wheels during late December however, as the Omicron variant swept through the nation. This first manifested itself in a capacity limit for Wilson’s game on December 17 against Coolidge. Not an ideal situation for Tiger fans, but not the end of the world. Things became hectic for the team when DCPS went virtual for the day on December 22. Because of this, Wilson was forced to forfeit their game scheduled for that day against Eastern. This created massive amounts of frustration among team members, primarily because  there were no COVID cases on the team despite the outbreak at Wilson at the time.  The forfeit remains Wilson’s only loss in league play this season.

As COVID numbers worsened, DCPS ruled that no spectators would be allowed at sports games.. For Wilson players, the news was disappointing, but not debilitating. 

“Having the fans there gave us a lot of momentum, now we have to create [it] ourselves as a team,” sophomore guard Lucas Sekasi said. Some players on the team mentioned the positive impacts that come with the lack of fans present, such as gaining the ability to generate momentum on their own and the lack of opposing fans during road games. Another positive the team drew from the situation was how it brought the team together, having to face this type of adversity as one. Despite this, the sentiment was clear that they hope fans can pack the stands as soon as possible. “[It] doesn’t feel like high school basketball, it feels like when you go to an AAU game,” Sekasi said. 

The lack of fans hasn’t slowed the Tiger’s success. The team has continued their dominance in league play, not just winning games, but putting up numerous victories by more than twenty points. “We know how good we are, and we just lock into every game,” junior guard Ben Kolbil said. “Fans or no fans, we know what to do, so we go out and execute it.”

The team began their DCIAA playoff run this past Tuesday, with a dominating victory over Cardoza. Its unlikely fans will return for the DCIAA playoffs. Guidelines have been updated allowing athletes to bring two visitors each, but the return of full stands is still up in the air. The team is hopes to have a packed and cheering student section again in the DCSAA postseason tournament, though no decision has been made.