By ANDREW GARDA
Montclair High School’s boys basketball team has found its season cut short due to a positive coronavirus case.
The team’s 59-55 win over Newark Tech on Feb. 25 will now close out its season. Head coach Gary Wallace said he was disappointed for the seniors, but proud of the team’s efforts this year.
“I’ll take 11 games in this climate,” he said.
Athletics Director Patrick Scarpello confirmed the issue.
“We had a positive case in our basketball program and we shut down the program to quarantine to keep everyone safe,” Scarpello said.
The sudden stop marks the end of a tough season for MHS, which finishes with a record of 3-7 (3-5 SEC), its first in the Liberty Division.
The boys are the second local team to suffer a COVID-19 shutdown this winter, with the Montclair Kimberley Academy hockey team having to shut down due to a positive test for two weeks in early February.
The MHS girls tennis team had been forced into a two-week quarantine after COVID-19-related issues in the fall.
The Mounties shutdown comes a few weeks after New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy eased restrictions on spectators at indoor high school sporting events on Feb. 12, and in the midst of what the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association has dubbed “Season 2a,” which includes swimming and indoor track and field.
Season 2a teams began practicing on Feb. 1 and were allowed to begin competing on Feb. 16, though MHS’s swimming team didn’t start competing until Feb. 26, when the girls beat Newark Academy 113-57 while the boys fell 93-77.
Montclair Kimberley Academy’s swim teams started the season on Feb. 19, with the girls compiling a 2-1 record to date and the boys sitting at 1-1.
As with Season 2 — which includes basketball — teams are limited to three competitions a week, and all competitions are limited to just two teams . There is currently no plan for a state level tournament in any sport.
Teams in Season 3, which consists of wrestling as well as two sports which were moved from the fall — girls volleyball and gymnastics — were allowed to begin practicing on March 1, with competition allowed to commence as of March 16.
MHS girls basketball (11-2, 9-0 SEC-Independence) wraps up its dominant season this Friday on the road against Weequahic, while the MKA boys (6-7, 6-5 SEC-Freedom) finish up Friday night at Livingston, with Thursday night at Caldwell the last game for the girls (1-7, 1-6 SEC- Colonial).
The Immaculate High School boys basketball team (10-4, 4-0 in SEC-American) finishes up Thursday with Senior Night home against the Patrick School, while the girls basketball team (6-7, 4-2 in SEC-American) wraps up on March 6 on the road against Ramapo.