Girls basketball team resurrects winter season in rec league


The girls basketball team gathers for a non-traditional winter rec league season.

This past December, MCPS made the decision to cancel all winter sports for the 2020-21 school year due to COVID-19. For many winter athletes, this was a bitter pill to swallow as they couldn’t participate in the sports they love. The girls basketball team, however, was able to turn the negative into a positive.

With a movement led by a combination of parents and players, the girls basketball team was able to resurrect their season by joining a recreation league in Montgomery County. PHS and MCPS athletics did not have any connection to this team or this league. Although they did technically have coaches, the team was primarily player-led, according to senior Mackenzie Magaha.

“So two parents of the girls on the team actually stepped up to be our ‘coaches’, it was Mr. Bupp and Mr. Rothenberg, and they always made it very clear from the start that this was just our team…” Magaha said, “He asked me and Taylor [Rhode], the two seniors, to kind of lead and guide all the girls, and they never knew any of our plays…”

The season consisted of nine games, all of which were played in local rec centers or MCPS school gyms (Poolesville was not one of them). The team practiced once a week, and each team in the league consisted of 10-12 players. There was also a playoffs and a championship in the league, and although the girls didn’t advance as far as they would’ve liked, they still enjoyed the season even with its abnormal circumstances. The seniors weren’t left out of senior night festivities either, as their teammates put together their own custom senior night with flowers and custom basketballs for the seniors. 

When the winter sports season was first cancelled in MCPS, many students, especially seniors, were caught off-guard by the decision.

“So my first reaction was extremely upset, I already felt my whole senior year was being taken away and my favorite thing about school anyways was playing basketball and they were taking that away from me, too. I never thought that last year’s playoff game would be the last time I ever played a basketball game in Poolesville High School’s gym.” Magaha said. 

Just two months after the decision to cancel winter sports had been made, MCPS made the decision to continue on with abbreviated fall and spring sports seasons in the second semester. Certain winter sports, such as Poms, were moved into the fall season so that their students could still have sports. MCPS claims that basketball was not moved due to the fact that the sport is played indoors; however some students, especially those on the basketball team, have taken issue with this since volleyball is conducted indoors as well and their season continued. 

“I think Montgomery County made an awful decision.” Magaha says, “I find it so unfair that just a few weeks later other sports were allowed to be playing in the gyms, and it has taken away from some people’s main sports or only sports they play. They already took away our whole senior year, and now they also took away some people’s only sport.”