A new high school basketball season is upon us, and after a sectional title a year ago, the Reitz Panthers are ready to defend their crown.
"It's a really exciting season since last season got cut short going to regionals, so I feel like this year is going to be like a great bounce back," said Reitz Senior Shooting Guard Owen Dease.
"Seeing football and volleyball happen made us all really really happy especially seeing that they kept with it the entire season. Definitely all us guys in the locker room we were definitely super excited to see that we were going to have a season, that it was going to happen," said Reitz Senior Small Forward Ethan Higgs.
Reitz was one of three teams in our area remaining when Regionals came around, but the Coronavirus pandemic began canceling the remainder of the state tournament.
"That was tough but I said then and I say now you know, it's just there are a lot more things going on in the world, I think it was the right thing to do. It was tough but, at least we were allowed to get through our sectional play. I felt so bad for the spring sports kids that didn't even get to play at all. So at least we had a season, yeah it was unfortunate but I think we've just got to look forward and move ahead," said Head Coach Michael Adams.
"Really life changed that day. We all got quarantined, we all had to go home and couldn't go anywhere so it was really like the day life changed for everybody," said Dease.
Not only did the Panthers lose a chance to win a Regional, but they also lost Khristian Lander who reclassified and departed for Bloomington to play for I.U.
"We're happy for Khristian, we wish him all the luck in the world, but we feel like we have a really good team. We had a lot of moments where Khristian was in foul trouble or the one game against Jeffersonville he was injured and so these kids have played a lot without Khristian and as I said we really like our team and we think we're set up well so we're excited," said Adams.
"It's definitely freed up the ball for a lot of other guys. That's just part of having a 5 star on your team is that. But it's also having a lot of other people step up, especially underclassmen who are going to be guards coming in so, we're definitely learning to be a full team without him. But, it was a heavy adjustment to make at the beginning," said Higgs.
With everything that has gone on since march, the Panthers believe they still have all the pieces necessary to pick up where they left off when this year's state tournament begins.
"We have the same team we had last year besides Mar'Quon and Khristian so I feel like this year we'll be the same team. We still have everything we need to win," said Dease.