With snow days piling up, teams try to stay hot

Photos by Brittney Lohmiller/The Herald
Colin Smith dribbled around folding chairs during Southridge’s first boys basketball practice in nearly a week. All Dubois County school corporations have been closed since Friday which has caused a plethora of cancellations. Even with school canceled on Tuesday, the Southridge administration allowed practice to continue due to improvement of road conditions.


For some, snow days are a chance to catch up on relaxation or maybe the latest Netflix TV series you’ve been trying to binge watch but just haven’t had the time.

But for Northeast Dubois girls basketball head coach Andy Chinn, the days off meant one thing and one thing only — more time to prepare for his team’s upcoming games.

“I woke up this morning, made some coffee, checked the latest rankings and then I immediately started watching film,” said Chinn on Monday, who doubles as both the girls basketball coach and a physical education teacher at Northeast Dubois, on Monday. “I love the X’s and O’s of basketball and when I have some extra time just to dedicate to basketball, I couldn’t ask for much more than that.”

Every day this week, all of the Dubois County school corporations have closed which meant that their extended weekend continued after not having school on Friday due to the mix of ice and snow that pelted the county nearly all day.

Every area boys and girls basketball game on Friday and Saturday was either canceled or postponed until a later date and until Tuesday, most teams hadn’t practiced together in nearly a week.

When schools are closed, teams do sometimes still have the opportunity to hold practices but it is left up to the school’s administration. The first day that school is closed is a guarantee there will be no practice but if it becomes an extended period of cancellations, then the decision is left up to the administration on a day-to-day basis.

For example, the Southridge boys basketball team didn’t have practice on Monday as the school district felt the roads were in poor shape, but they were allowed to practice on Tuesday.

“As a coaching staff, there’s nothing we can do about the weather,” said Southridge boys head coach Ted O’Brien, whose team hasn’t played a game since Jan. 6. “We’re not in the gym right now but we realize that most other teams have had to deal with this too. We try to look at it as a glass half-full thing and not get too worked up about it.”

On the other hand, the Northeast Dubois girls basketball team was able to hold a completely voluntary practice on Monday morning before the roads became too dangerous.

“Basically, we open up the gym for anyone in our program from high school to middle school that can make it in and we do some drills and play some games. We keep the fun aspect of it while still getting some work done,” Chinn said. “The one we had (on Monday morning), we had 12 girls show up which is a really good number so it allowed us to practice some things and then we sent them on their way and back to bed they go.”

While Chinn and O’Brien may have been primarily focused on basketball, several players have used the snow days to get closer with their teammates.

Many members of the Jasper girls basketball team went sledding together, while a large group of the Northeast Dubois girls basketball team had a “One Tree Hill” marathon, which senior Adi Denu hosted to use as a team bonding experience between members of the varsity team as well as several sophomores and freshmen.

“Seeing them get together like that and doing team bonding is something that we really pride ourselves on,” Chinn said. “We always say that we’re a family and that’s what family does. To trust someone on the court, you first have to trust them off the court and that’s why things have worked so well for us.”

Jayce Harter, who has been one of Southridge’s main vocal leaders and one of the team’s captains, said that the Raiders are using this time off to both relax and give themselves some well-deserved time off.

“We just try to relax our bodies and take it easy on them,” Harter said. “We all need a break every once in awhile. Obviously, we’d like to be practicing but the roads are still just a bit too horrible.”

Harter said that while this time off is a good time to catch up on film for upcoming opponents, such as fellow PAC rival Heritage Hills who the Raiders play Friday, it’s also a good chance to catch up on schoolwork and other non-basketball items that he usually doesn’t have time for during the season.

Raiders head coach Ted O’Brien talked with members of his team during Tuesday's practice. “We’ve had four days off and it’s tough to take that many days off this late in the season,” O’Brien said.

“Usually, we have basketball almost every day of the week, so it’s nice to be able to try to do something other than basketball,” Harter said. “It really gives you much more time in general to do whatever you need to do during the day.”

While O’Brien admits he’s a little disappointed he hasn’t been able to be in the gym much recently with his team due to the winter weather that’s struck Dubois County, he has been able to spend a little more time recently with some pretty important people that he wishes he could spend even more time with during the basketball season — his kids.

“These six months we’re just living and breathing basketball and there’s not many hours in the day we get to spend with our kids,” O’Brien said.

“It’s been nice to be able to go sledding and play games with my kids, which is something that we usually don’t get to do much of in October through March.”

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