First it was postponed, then St. Mary’s Athletic Director Patrick Welsh got the call from the league—their girls basketball state semifinal game was canceled. There would be no proper ending for the Gaels, no championship to win or lose, just a quarantine inflicted by a virus that has no vaccine.
The team found themselves in the Catholic League New York State semifinal v. Cardinal Herricks after a successful 21-4 season. The game was scheduled to take place at Holy Trinity High School at 6 p.m. on Friday, March 13. That was not to be true, as head coach Kevin White would find out.
“I told Kevin, ‘it’s not happening,’” Welsh said. “And we knew it. There was disappointment, but we knew it was going in that direction.”
The team is young, sporting a roster of three seniors, one junior, three sophomores and six freshman. If they had won the game, they would have played White’s daughter, who is the head coach of St. Francis, in the state championship.
“I told them it was a bad way to end a great year and we still have a lot to be proud of with everything we accomplished,” White remarked. “They were very good. The growth from September to March was tremendous. They really came together as a team, they started trusting one another.”
White still wants to get the team back together one last time—have a final goodbye—but that will have to wait under the current circumstance of a nation embroiled in a pandemic.
“I really want to bring everybody together when it’s feasible to get everyone together in a healthy environment,” White said. “Nobody knew what the extent of the outbreak was going to be. It was a whole bunch of uncertainty.”
He is still trying to get two of his three seniors on a college basketball team for next year. Visits were set up, but those will have to wait as well.
White is not used to this, his team plays up-tempo and press their opponent the entire game. Waiting is not Gaels basketball.
However, a season lost to a global crisis should not overshadow the incredible season they did have, and the work White and his coaching staff put in to develop a state championship contender. That will never be forgotten.
“Kevin did a fabulous job with these girls,” Welsh said. “He’s an unbelievable coach. He handled it perfectly. You can’t ask for a better coach.”