Seeley Swan Pathfinder -

By Henry Netherland

Blackhawks take precautions as they head onto the court


January 7, 2021

Nathan Bourne, Pathfinder

Fans at the opening basketball game Jan. 2 were spaced out and masked. Only two tickets per dressed athlete are allowed to attend games in person.

SEELEY LAKE - Seeley-Swan High School's basketball teams played their first games this past weekend. To prevent players and fans from contracting coronavirus, organizers had to make certain adaptations during games.

SSHS Athletic Director Shawn Holmes said the biggest change they had to make was having the boys and girls teams play in separate locations. They would still be able to play on the same night but the varsity and junior varsity teams for one gender would play a home game while the other two teams would play away.

The maximum number of spectators allowed at away games varies, but in SSHS' conference only two spectators per home team player can watch. No away team spectators will be allowed. On the floor only 25 players, coaches and officials can be on the floor at one time. 

"It really limits your bench personnel, certainly your coaching staff," Holmes said.

Opposing teams are not allowed to shake hands and additional, sanitized basketballs must be on standby in case one ventures into the crowd. At away games, players will be asked to take temperature checks. Audience members will also need to practice social distancing.

Only those actually playing on the floor will not have to wear a mask. Regulations do not affect much of the game play itself.

During practices, coaches were encouraged to have players remain in pods of three to limit spread.

The Montana High School Association ultimately made the decision to follow through with the season.

"I think they were surprised that football and volleyball got through as well as it did," Holmes said. "And I don't think they're willing to shut down basketball at that level, unless the governor says to. It really wasn't that bad in football, in the fall sports. We had a few games canceled, but we made it through."

Regardless of the restrictions, Holmes is still looking forward to the season.

"I think it'll be great," he said. "David [Cahoon] coaching the girls and Mike [Haines] coaching the boys. ... I'm a little upset that the kids don't get to play as many games, but we'll figure that out and just hope for a postseason so that those seniors get a chance to move [onto] divisionals and state. We're excited that we get to have a season and we hope we get ... all of our games in."


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