Dammian Stepp

Berea coach Dammian Stepp

Headed into the 2020-21 basketball season, coaches and players knew the possibility existed that schedules would be up in the air because of the pandemic.

With that in mind, Berea Community announced Tuesday that all sports are suspended until Feb. 3 because of ongoing issues related to COVID-19.

“With the many quarantines going on right now within our athletic department, our administrative team has decided to shut down all practice and game activities for all teams,” Athletics Director Jerry Bingham said on the boys’ basketball Facebook page. “Activities can resume on Feb. 3.”

That means Friday’s double-header at Madison Southern has been canceled.

The girls’ team suspended practice and play in the days following its 62-42 win over Model on Jan. 21.

Coach Dammian Stepp said the decision wasn’t fun to make, but it was in the best interest of the team’s health and safety.

“That is just the type of season we are all playing through,” he said. “I feel like we were hitting our stride, and we will have to regroup after some time off. Some schools have had to quarantine twice, already, and ensuring the safety of the kids has to be a priority at this time.”

Stepp added that once Feb. 3 rolls around, the Lady Pirates (5-3) will be healthy and ready for tournament play.

Boys coach Ray Valentine said not knowing if his team will play the scheduled games has been one of the biggest hurdles for the Pirates (1-3). Through the early part of the year, the Pirates have played four of the eight games scheduled because of Covid-19 issues with other schools.

“It’s been hard on the kids,” he said. “But like I said before the season began, our number one goal is to play as many games as possible.”

Valentine, who was hired shortly before the season, joked, saying his first year will be one for the ages.

“What a great way to start a coaching career,” he quipped. “I just have to remember there are many more (years of coaching) to come.”

Before the cancellations, the Lady Pirates defeated Model behind a 19-point effort from Alexis Newman. Newman also secured five rebounds. Newman knocked down five 3-pointers in the victory. Chesney Lovins pulled down 18 rebounds while adding seven points in the win.

The Pirates fell 78-63 to Frankfort on Jan. 23. In the game, Jaylen Dorsey scored his 1,000th career points in a 13-point effort. Jayden Smith led the Pirates with 20 points and 11 rebounds, while Trenton Wilson finished with 19 points.

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