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Postponements forcing some schools to delay start of district basketball season


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  • Newcomb High School announces fans at home and away games limited to 25 percent of capacity
  • Aztec High School wrestling had roster impacted by quarantines earlier this month
  • Albuquerque Public Schools are prohibiting spectators from sporting events this week through Feb. 2

FARMINGTON — Basketball games at both Navajo Prep and Aztec High School are being postponed this week due to quarantines and roster limitations.

The District 1-4A opener between Aztec and Miyamura's girls basketball teams, scheduled for Tuesday night at Lillywhite Gym at Aztec High School, has been postponed and is rescheduled for Saturday, Jan. 29.

According to Lady Tigers head coach Robert McCaskill, students being placed on quarantine has limited their roster.

"We had a large number of players in quarantine," McCaskill said Monday night.

Meantime, Navajo Prep's boys basketball team has also been hit by postponements, starting with Tuesday night's district opener on the road at Zuni and Wednesday night at Thoreau.

A social media post from Navajo Prep stated that games would be rescheduled, but no date had been set.

Navajo Prep athletic director Rainy Crisp confirmed the school's decision early Tuesday morning.

"All our boys games this week will be rescheduled due to an increase in cases," Crisp said via text message. "These are tough times, but I'm glad our district is working together to get through this."

The decisions by both Navajo Prep and Aztec came on the heels of a notice from the Albuquerque Public Schools which prohibits spectators from sporting events beginning Wednesday through at least Wednesday, Feb. 2.

The measure by APS was announced as part of an effort to take "extra precautions to help reduce virus spread," according to a statement released on Tuesday morning.

More: High school basketball district play begins this week around San Juan County

The decision will have an immediate impact on several local schools which are scheduled to make road trips to Albuquerque this weekend, including Farmington and Piedra Vista's girls basketball teams, which travel to West Mesa and La Cueva, respectively.

Farmington Municipal Schools athletic director confirmed the decision by APS in a tweet sent from the district's account Tuesday morning, stating that video feeds of those games would be made available.

Meantime, the Newcomb Skyhawks announced earlier this week that their Tuesday girls and boys basketball games at home against Wingate, will have a limited number of fans in attendance.

In a social media post, Newcomb Athletics stated they would only allow two guests per player, manager and coach at home and future away games, due to changes in Navajo Nation health orders.

More: Navajo Nation reaffirms public health orders in light of rising COVID-19 cases

One of the changes to the updated health department directive placed schools under red status and initiated higher measures for physical distancing in classrooms as well as placing 25 percent of maximum occupancy for indoor and outdoor sporting events.

High school basketball is not the only sport to be affected by current COVID protocols. Aztec High School's wrestling team was also hit by a reduction of available athletes for competition in recent weeks due to quarantine restrictions.

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Aztec High School wrestling coach Herb Stinson
After their meet against Farmington High School, we caught up with Aztec High School wrestling coach Herb Stinson.
Steven Bortstein, Farmington Daily Times

Missing wrestlers for a period of time worked out poorly for the Tigers, who came out flat last week in a duals competition against Farmington.

"After finally getting most of the wrestlers back, we turned around the next day to wrestle Farmington," according to Aztec head coach Herb Stinson. "That did not work out so well, as lack of team time, practice, and any consistency worked against us. It was a formula for disaster."

Steve Bortstein can be reached via email at SBortstein@Gannett.com, via Twitter @DTSBortstein or on the phone at (505) 635-2680.