Jenks boys’ basketball season comes to ‘sucker punch’ end
It was supposed to be a bus ride full of excitement and determination, but Jenks boys’ basketball trip to Memorial’s Veteran’s Arena took a turn for the worse.
The Trojans were on their way to compete in the first round of the state Tournament March 12 when the rumors started flying. Reports were coming out that the OSSAA was holding a press conference to address concerns over COVID-19.
Supporters of the team lined main street to cheer the team on as they made their way. The excitement wasn’t lacking, but the team knew something bad could be on the horizon.
The team was 100 yards from the arena when they got the news. The tournament had been postponed.
“I got up to walk toward the back of the bus, they were looking at me with just stillness,” coach Clay Martin said. “To hear ‘hey guys, at this time we’re not playing the state tournament, it’s been postponed. I think it was kind of a sucker punch to our guys.”
Jenks got off the bus and met with Edmond Memorial. The two teams took a picture together to commemorate the unusual moment in history. They never made it into the arena.
This Trojan team was stacked with veteran leadership throughout the lineup. Jenks went 21-5 including a 15-game win streak which took place during throughout the majority of the regular season.
“We tried to keep a happy spirit and we went to a teammate’s house and hung out but now that the reality has really hit us it is devastating especially for our seniors,” sophomore Ben Averitt said. “We had a great group of seniors. We had a great run and it really hurt to see it end this way.”
In the grand scheme of things, Jenks basketball has been a small casualty of everything effected by the coronavirus. Still, the pain remains.
“The big picture is that we have to be smart and responsible citizens and make good choices for the sake of our nation,” Martin said. “In our little microscopic world of Jenks basketball, this stinks. We had a really good team who we thought could really compete at this tournament.”
Both school and sports will no longer take place for the remainder of the year. Averitt, like many students, is having a tough time dealing with the severity of the situation. He’s keeping a positive mindset, however.
“It’s been hard not seeing most of my friends and being away from my teammates, but I think this time is a blessing in disguise for me to really push myself by working out and running,” he said. “But it’s definitely been hard not being able to go up to any gyms and get up shots.”
The season will never reach a definite conclusion.
Sports are defined by its crowning achievement and for high school athletics, the state championship is number one.
Given the circumstances, teams now need to think a little differently. For a group like Jenks, they can have solace knowing they won 21 games and qualified for the state tournament.
This group will need to look back on what they accomplished and be happy. It’s the only thing they can do.
“I tried to make light of the situation. I said, ‘just know that, right now, you’re the only team in the history of Jenks basketball to finish the season on a win.’ That’s not what they wanted to hear,” Martin said.
“They wanted to compete for this tournament. I know they’re hurting right now but there’s some truth to it. You’re going to look back on that win against Broken Arrow in the Area game. That’s a pretty fun memory to have.”