FLORENCE, S.C. – Florence School District 3 has canceled the rest of this school year’s winter sports seasons because of the pandemic. For its high school, Lake City, the affected sports are basketball and wrestling.
“It’s terrible,” said Matt Apicella, Lake City's athletic director. “You’re talking about kids and their senior seasons. We went through this last spring. These kids only get one time through, and to have to tell them they can’t play anymore, it’s tough. But these (COVID-19) numbers are crazy. Our kids haven’t done anything since early December."
FSD3 has also been virtual for all classes since November. One other Pee Dee high school has already had its winter season canceled: Lee Central.
The Panthers were scheduled to resume sports activities on Jan. 30. Also, FSD3 has delayed the start of spring sports practice by a week, marking the first spring practice now for Feb. 8.
Lake City competes in Region 6-3A.
“To put our kids out on the floor now to kind of make up games and squeeze games in to make the playoffs, that would be a tough decision,” Apicella said. “We had our region A.D. meeting this morning and went through a few different scenarios. But there some other schools in the region that are also up in the air. With Lake City missing the first two weeks of region, it’s impossible to make those games up in time.”
The South Carolina High School League’s deadline for each region to turn in postseason teams for basketball is Feb. 18.
“We just couldn’t do it. We couldn’t come to a resolution, and this is an unfortunate decision. But I do feel it was the right one,” Apicella said.
After spring sports were not able to finish in 2019-20, Apicella said he hopes chances are better for this school year’s spring sports to finish.
“We’ll give the start of spring practice another week and hope these (COVID) numbers settle down a bit,” Apicella said. “These kids need a spring season. They need some sense of normalcy. We can all see the light at the end of the tunnel. But sometimes, that’s the toughest journey. We need to persevere. These kids deserve an opportunity. And hopefully, we can finish out the spring without any hiccups.”