Hours before Desert Vista and Mountain Pointe were scheduled to square off in a rematch of last year’s 6A state championship basketball game, the game will now be rescheduled due to a positive case of COVID-19 in the Thunder program.
Desert Vista co-head coach Jordan Ballard confirmed the team has entered a 14-day quarantine as a result of the positive test.
“We are all disappointed, but the first thing they wanted to know was if the student was OK,” Ballard said. “The student himself, he took it so hard. He thought he let everyone down. But everyone has been telling him how much they love him and not to feel bad because this can happen to anybody.
“Everyone is praying he gets better soon, and we will take the necessary steps to quarantine ourselves.”
Desert Vista last played Tuesday against Queen Creek, a game the Thunder managed to grind out a win to improve to 2-1 on the season. The contest against Mountain Pointe Friday was scheduled to be part of Hoophall West, an annual tournament that has taken on a new form this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Per guidelines set forth by the Tempe Union High School District, Desert Vista’s basketball program will quarantine for 14 days. As a result, the Thunder will be forced to cancel games against Highland, Corona del Sol, Desert Ridge and Boulder Creek.
Ballard said the team is scheduled to return to the court on Feb. 12, three days before the team is scheduled to face Valley Vista.
“How many practices we would like to have before playing a game is what we are working on,” Ballard said. “We are going to make sure we come back, and our guys are in a good position to play games before we go against somebody else.”
Ballard added Desert Vista would look into rescheduling as many of the games the team will miss as possible. He hopes to at the very least reschedule region games against Mountain Pointe, Highland, Corona del Sol and Desert Ridge.
Desert Vista Athletic Director echoed Ballard’s statement on social media.
“DV will do everything we can to adjust any games missed while continuing to be safe,” Eubanks wrote.
Mountain Pointe Athletic Director Aaron Frana said the two schools were already in the process of looking at new date and were targeting sometime around Feb. 24. Though talks are still in preliminary stages.
“We are looking for a date to try to reschedule, so we’ll find out,” Frana said. “I talked to (Mountain Pointe coach Kaimarr Price) and he was very disappointed. Obviously, this is a big-time game. They were looking forward to playing an opponent like Desert Vista and gauging where we are.”
Desert Vista becomes the latest East Valley team forced into quarantine due to COVID-19.
On Wednesday, both Chandler and Hamilton entered a 10-day quarantine period due to a positive test within one or both of the programs. The positive test was revealed the day after the two teams played.
As a result, the game between Perry and Basha on Thursday was also canceled out of precaution. The Pumas played Chandler last Friday.
Ballard said the Desert Vista student-athlete who tested positive was experiencing only mild symptoms so far. He said the player did the right thing to get tested and put less people at risk.
“He’s got a couple mild symptoms, but he is taking the necessary steps to get back to being healthy,” Ballard said. “Are we disappointed? Yeah. But we knew this could happen to anybody.”