Bay basketball aims high for season even with pandemic challenges

Local Sports

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) – The Bay boys basketball team is thankful that their season is finally here.

“It feels good. I’m happy, very happy,” Bay basketball player Timothy Brown said.

The Tornadoes opened up their season on Saturday with a win over Arnold 69-36 at home.

The team didn’t have their schedule change due to the pandemic, but COVID-19 did change how much they were able to do over summer.

“We really didn’t get to work out over summer due to quarantine, so really out of shape and we got to get back into shape,” Bay basketball player Rustin Cook said. “We’re working on pushing the ball more so we’re running a lot more in practice.”

For third-year head coach Rusty Cook, he not only has to focus on coaching, but also has to deal with any challenges the pandemic throws the team’s way.

“That’s kind of the scary part of it, that really worries me about the kids if they have to quarantine for 14 days. In basketball we play multiple games a week, so they could miss a lot if they have to quarantine,” Cook said.

Coach Cook said it’s also tough with seven sophomores on the team and missing out on a lot of the summer as they’ve had to get the younger guys up to speed faster.

“We’ve kind of had to fast track the learning curve a little bit, just throw them out their and see what they can do at times,” Cook said. “Hopefully we can use the first couple of games and improve as the season goes on, you wanna be peaking at the end of the season so that’s what we are going for.”

However, this Tornadoes team is truly blessed to be playing because the think this squad is a special one.

“We got more energy, we got more energy for sure, last year we didn’t have a team like this,” Brown said.

They hope to make the most of this season and it’s no surprise they think they have what it takes to go further in the post-season that the year before.

“I want to go to state and win district, we’ve got some tough teams in district but we can beat them,” Rustin Cook said.

Bay will take on Walton at home on Tuesday night.

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