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Stress level is rising as coaches and players deal with coronavirus obstacles

Jackson Hall made his coaching debut for Westlake, taking over because of safety and health protocols.
Jackson Hall made his coaching debut for Westlake, taking over because of safety and health protocols. Calabasas won 63-59.
(Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)

During his playing days at Thousand Oaks High and now as head coach at Westlake, Kyle Kegley says he never missed attending a basketball game because of injury or illness, so understand his emotions on Wednesday night when his Westlake High team began Marmonte League play against Calabasas without him because of health and safety protocols.

“It’s stressful for everyone involved,” he said by phone Wednesday afternoon.

The coronavirus surge has been causing havoc for indoor sports teams this week, disrupting schedules, forcing games to be postponed or canceled and leaving rosters in flux. Besides Kegley’s absence, a top player for Westlake also missed the game. Calabasas was playing its first game since Dec. 16 because of its own COVID-19 pause.

Calabasas came away with a 63-59 victory behind Taylor Golden, who scored five consecutive points in the final minute and finished with 18 points, spoiling the coaching debut for Westlake’s Jackson Hall. Marcus Lesser scored 20 points for Westlake (11-3). Gavin Murphy added 19 points for Calabasas (11-3).

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Last year when there were COVID-19 disruptions, at least most teams were on the same page. They were united trying to get teenagers back playing. This season, it was supposed to be a return to normalcy, practicing and competing for a playoff spot. But with classes resuming for the spring semester this week, not everything is equal.

The stress level is rising as COVID-19 forces daily changes and daily evaluations. This week, schools started limiting attendance at games. The hope is this surge will be over in several weeks but the most important time to determine playoff spots is happening in January for basketball.

“I’m like everyone else — dealing with chaos,” Kegley said.

The San Diego Unified School District announced it was pausing all non-essential and out-of-season activities — football weight lifting, baseball and softball conditioning — for three weeks and requiring mandatory vaccinations for all athletes.

Harvard-Westlake 82, Grant 37: Tuning up for their Mission League opener on Friday, the Wolverines (14-1) cruised to victory in their first game since a COVID-19 pause last month. Cameron Thrower scored 18 points and Brady Dunlap and Landon Lewis added 16 points apiece.

King/Drew 72, Cathedral 70: Kalib LaCount scored 38 points in the overtime win, sending King/Drew into the championship game against Westchester of the Huntington Park tournament.

Venice 61, Birmingham 58: The Gondoliers came away with the San Fernando Valley tournament win behind Tyler Hunt, who scored 22 points. Tyson Jackson led Birmingham with 18 points.

Santa Margarita 51, JSerra 42: The Eagles (12-0) remained unbeaten in their Trinity League opener. Jake Heberle finished with 16 points. Kyle Evans had 10 points and 13 rebounds.

Simi Valley 91, Moorpark 69: Angel Navarro made six threes and finished with 31 points.

Sherman Oaks Notre Dame 66, Crespi 41: Dusty Stromer had 18 points and 11 rebounds in a Mission League opener. Mason Dorsey scored 14 points for Crespi.

Los Altos 54, Diamond Bar 35: Jazz Gardner had his fifth triple-double of the season with 21 points, 12 rebounds and 10 blocks.

Tesoro 69, Mission Viejo 41: Carson Brown scored 30 points for 16-3 Tesoro.

Dominguez 84, Warren 54: Franklyn Chambers had 30 points for Dominguez.

Corona Centennial 79, King 56: Devin Williams scored 22 points and Donovan Dent 20 for the No. 1-ranked Huskies (14-1).

Boys’ soccer

Servite 3, Orange Lutheran 1: The Friars began Trinity League play with a win behind Eddie Villeda, who scored two goals.

Moorpark 6, Simi Valley 1: The Musketeers are 10-0.

The CIF has suspended a rule banning Sunday games to give schools more rescheduling options in response to the coronavirus surge.


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