PORTSMOUTH — Wheelersburg boys basketball coach Steven Ater, admittedly, has an originally unforeseen responsibility.
As the Ohio High School Basketball Coaches Association’s District 14 Director, it is largely his role to put on the annual District 14 senior all-star games —and the subsequent presentation of the District 14 awards.
But with the cancellation of this season’s all-star games on March 24, amid the threat of the coronavirus and in conjunction with Ohio’s schools-closure directive from Governor Mike DeWine, those plaques for the Players and Coaches of the Year and certificates for all of the honored players are still in need of being properly presented.
“We’re still trying to figure that out. The all-star game is a big thing every year for the district. The seniors are playing one last high school basketball game, and with that comes recognizing all the players which made first team, second third, third team and Honorable Mention. These kids are all very well-deserving to be recognized, for they work hard all season to earn all-district,” explained Ater. “They are truly the best of the district, but there is no real good answer for what we are doing this year.”
But what the District 14 is doing this year, so far, is playing the waiting game —like everybody else.
The District 14 umbrella includes eight counties —Adams, Brown, Fayette, Highland, Pickaway, Pike, Ross and Scioto — and features the three divisions of Divisions I and II combined, Division III and Division IV.
All dozen of Scioto County’s clubs —both boys and girls —are among either Division III or IV.
DeWine originally announced Ohio’s schools-closure mandate on March 12 and to begin four days later (March 16), and eventually extended it to last through at least May 1 — in alignment with DeWine’s “Stay-At-Home” order for the entire Buckeye State.
The District 14 all-star games got cancelled as a result, and eventually so did the OHSBCA North-South all-star games this coming weekend (April 23-24).
The annual OHSFCA North-South Football Classic, the longest-running high school all-star football game in the country and originally set for Saturday (April 25) this year, was nixed on March 12.
Ater expressed confidence that the awards will soon be presented to the honorees, and the hope is that if schools — both public and private — indeed re-open on May 4, they can possibly be presented publicly in an assembly style.
Ater was also asked about the possibility of holding a public presentation of awards in a centralized location, such as Waverly’s Downtown Arena or anywhere in and around the city of Chillicothe.
Those two cities are an estimated 11 miles apart, as the majority of the District 14 schools already travel there to play regular-season and/or tournament games.
Both Waverly and Chillicothe are close to U.S. Routes 35 and 23 and State Routes 32 and 104.
As of now, the situation squarely depends upon the “Stay-At-Home” and Ohio schools-closure orders being lifted.
And those, of course, were not part of Ater’s original job description.
“We can’t forget that the number-one goal during this quarantine time is for people to stay healthy. There are certainly a lot of tragic stories resulting from this virus. The District 14 awards, everybody will get them and hopefully in a timely manner,” he said. “Hopefully, we will know more after May 1.”
Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @BoggsSports © 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved