Coach Bill Sloan congratulates his team on a win against Sterling College on December 16. Photo Avila Athletics.

Sports Report: Avila Basketball has COVID-19

“Nobody plays the same amount of games, and it just does not feel like a real season.”

By Sam Kombrink

As we move forward in this pandemic, we remain optimistic that we will make it through. One school in our community that has been hit by the virus recently is Avila University.

Hailey Jackson shoots a free throw during the January 5 game against Baptist Bible College. Photo Avila Athletics

According to Avila Sports Information Director, Tim Hackett, both Men’s and Women’s Basketball programs at Avila University have contracted the COVID-19 virus. Both programs have canceled all games remaining in the month of January as they focus on recovering. “Currently, both of our basketball teams are in the quarantine process. We had to postpone a bunch of games for both teams this month,” he said. “Our women’s team is presently scheduled to return to action on the 25th on the road against Southwestern.” 

Here is what men’s head basketball coach Bill Sloan had to say in an interview with The Telegraph. 

How has the pandemic affected your job as a coach this season? 

“It has affected everybody I think this year pretty much on all levels. What happens, happens. Nobody plays the same amount of games, and it just does not feel like a real season. But it’s hard on the kids. It’s just really tough.” 

Has the recent success of the football program had an impact on your team?

“Anytime a team at your school is winning it helps everybody. It brings people to campus to watch–well, in a normal year–and gets people interested in the school and the other programs.” 

What are some things that have really impressed you about your team this season? 

“We have a bunch of really good kids and they work hard and try to do what they are asked to do. We may not be as big, or as athletic, as some of the teams we’ve played. But normally we are pretty tough and guard really well. They are good people and are always polite in the community. They are good representatives of the school. I like this team a lot.”

What are some things that you would like to see your team improve on? 

“We have to improve our rebounding. We have been awful since we came back…. and that has to get better. We have not shot it well since we have come back from break, but we were shooting really well before break. It’s a weird year. It’s hard to predict how they are going to be because we will be playing so many games, at least three a week, so you hardly get to practice. Without the practice time it’s a tough situation and we just have to grind things out.”

Avila has a record of (9-5) and recently lost one of their main scorers, (Guard #23) Tyree King to a broken finger and may be out 4-6 weeks. King led the team in scoring and was averaging (15.6 points per game). The Eagles will have the rest of the month off to recover and continue their winning season. 

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