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Q&A: How high school basketball, boys’ volleyball and wrestling will resume

Junior volleyball player Dillon Klein of Loyola
Junior volleyball player Dillon Klein of Loyola will get to start practicing in the gym on March 15.
(Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)

There’s slow movement toward high schools preparing to conduct indoor seasons in basketball, volleyball and wrestling following the release last week of updated guidance from the California Department of Public Health allowing indoor sports to begin with enhanced testing procedures similar to college and pro teams, if county health departments approve.

When will basketball and volleyball competitions begin?

The official start of the Southern Section basketball season is Friday, and boys’ volleyball can begin on Saturday. However, games and matches are unlikely anytime soon because county health departments must sign off on the state guidelines and schools need to create safety plans and implement testing procedures.

Can high school gyms open?

Private schools that are testing students have begun to allow students into gyms. Loyola’s volleyball team is scheduled to begin gym workouts March 15. Oxnard became one of the first public schools to allow girls’ volleyball players into its gym this week. Others continue to train outdoors while waiting for schools to implement antigen or PCR testing for its athletes.

When will schedules be announced?

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Schedules are a work in progress. Athletic directors won’t move forward until they’re sure schools will be playing. About the only certainty are league schedules for private schools in May. With tournaments unlikely, look for schools to have four-team round robins, playing one game in the morning, another in the afternoon and coming back the next day with the same four teams for nonleague games.

Will there be playoffs?

The Southern Section has said it will evaluate the possibility of playoffs in the middle of April for spring sports. There would need to be revisions allowed by the California Department of Public Health and county health departments. Teams are only allowed to play within their counties or face teams from adjacent counties. As long as that rule is in place, it’s unlikely the Southern Section will be able to hold playoffs and there would be no state championships.

Will club basketball interfere with high school basketball?

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It will be an interesting balancing act starting in April as travel ball tournaments start up around the country while high school basketball in California also begins. A one-time waiver approved by the CIF allows athletes to play club and high school sports at the same time. Windward girls’ coach Vanessa Nygaard has the No. 1 sophomore in the country, Juju Watkins, and Nygaard cleared her team’s schedule for one weekend in April knowing a national travel ball tournament in North Carolina would be held and her players would want to participate.

Will dropping COVID-19 case rates affect indoor sports?

The new state guidelines require testing for indoor sports even if adjusted new case rates drop below 7.0 per day per 100,000 population in a county. On Tuesday, Los Angeles declined to 5.2 and Orange County to 6.0. Required testing for football and water polo athletes becomes optional when a county reaches 7.0.


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