No fans, no problem for College of the Siskiyous basketball teams

Bill Choy
Siskiyou Daily News
The COS women's basketball team plays Feather River in a game without fans on Friday at the COS campus in Weed.

The sound of whistles and the squeak of sneakers echoed through the College of the Siskiyous Gymnasium in Weed Friday. Normally, the gym would be buzzing with activity on game day, with fans cheering for the Eagles mens and womens teams.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, things are a little different this season. Most notably, fans are not allowed in the gym. The only people in the gym on Friday were the players and coaches, referees, COS staff, and two people recording the live online feed of both games so fans could watch COS in action against Feather River. Friday’s game was the third of the year. The shortened spring season concludes at Feather River on Friday. 

Despite the limitations, the players and coaches are simply pleased to be back playing again, albeit a shortened four-game season against only one opponent – Feather River. 

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During both games players sat in the stands loudly cheering their teammates on.

“We try to be loud, and pump them up,” said COS women’s basketball player Megan Bennett, a freshman from Etna High School. She said it is odd for it to be so quiet at games, so they try their best to be loud for each other. 

“It’s a boost to you and keeps you going when you hear those cheers,” Bennett said. “It’s just fun to be out here, I’m learning a lot. Hopefully, we can have fans back when everything is back to normal.” 

COS men’s head coach Kyle Heath said it is different to play a game in front of an empty gym, but his players have adapted.  

“For me, once the ball is is tipped it’s different, and I'm just focused on the game,” he said. Heath said he understands that noise from the bleachers is a good boost, but “I tell them you’re hoopers. Go out and play.” 

Heath said he's proud of the players and he's glad COS is one of just a handful of community colleges in California to be playing basketball at all.

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One positive is his team has formed a closer relationship with the women’s team this year since they are each other's only fans at games. And when they travel they are taking the same bus. Due to COVID protocol, the team heads straight to Feather River in Quincy with no stops, play the game, and get right back on the bus back to Weed. 

“We enjoy ... rooting for them,” he said. We know the importance of supporting each other.” 

COS Athletic Director Charlie Roche was busy between games on Friday, making sure things were safe by disinfecting the chairs and other surfaces. 

“It’s certainly different, but we’re glad we have measures in place that they can go out and have games,” Roche said. “I know they would like to play more games, but all things considered, this has been a good experience overall."

All athletes are being tested for COVID-19 48 hours before every game. Anyone in the gym also has to be tested. Before entering the gym, every person had their temperature taken.