By Aiden Wacksman
After facing a COVID-19 outbreak in January, the Oak Hall varsity girls basketball team has rebounded by winning five of its last six games.
The team’s first encounter with COVID-19 occurred on Jan. 6 when one player became ill. Just four days later, seven team members also fell ill, and two days after, Head Coach Eric Ringdahl tested positive for the virus. Games were cancelled and the team did not play again until Jan. 20 when it faced the Saint Francis Catholic Wolves.
“Seven of my 11 players got sick,” Ringdahl said. Any games that were planned to take place at this time were cancelled. This was not the first time, however, that Ringdahl had games called off due to COVID-19 this season. Virus outbreaks on other teams led to several cancellations of the Eagles’ games. “It sucks to cancel games…,” Ringdahl noted.
The team, however, faced adversity and re-emerged from the virus outbreak with conviction. It managed to outscore its next two opponents, the Wolves and Gainesville Christian Community School, by a combined score of 119-22. The Eagles then faced Eastside and St. John’s Country Day and won both games by scores of 43-38 and 43-33, respectively. The Eagles closed out the regular season with a record of 10-3.
Ringdahl believes the team has improved in many ways since its 5-3 start to the season. “We have boxed out better and therefore we have become a better defensive team,” he said. Seniors AnnaBeth Dyrkolbotn and Tyla Young have especially stepped up this season. “Our two seniors continue to improve their games and, in many ways, provide fire and leadership,” Ringdahl stated.
The Eagles played in the 2A District 4 tournament. Thanks to a 48-20 victory against First Coast Christian in the first round, the team clinched a spot in the 2A State Tournament. Its first game is against the 2A District 1 champs Munroe Bobcats at Munroe on Feb. 10.