Basketball gets underway after facing possible shutdown


Alex Kelly

Sophomore MJ Dowd handles the ball in the Boys Varsity game against Capuchino.

Alex Kelly and Jaden Luke

The girls and boys basketball season came very close to being cancelled when, on April 1, the San Mateo Union High School District (SMUHSD) Board was debating whether to shut down indoor sports for the year. After a wave of student and parent support for sports seasons to continue around the district, SMUHSD opted to allow indoor sports to begin, allowing basketball to get underway. Junior and JV girls basketball members like Isabel Forbes were anxiously awaiting the district’s decision as they wondered if they could play this season.


“It was sad and disappointing, because I’m working really hard to have a season. But then finding out that we can [have a season] has been really nice,” Forbes said.


Basketball players were overjoyed to get their time on the court. With the decision to allow indoor sports to have seasons coming so late in the year, there was little time for preparation or practice before the season. 


“We haven’t had that many opportunities to practice as a team but I think everyone’s been working individually,” sophomore and JV boys player Kevin Chiu said.


During their long offseason, players took to public parks to stay sharp on their shooting and ball skills. Many participated in at-home workouts to stay in shape for basketball and the pandemic in general. 


Although the players and coaches both feel confident in their skills, they still need to practice more contact play as they haven’t done much this year. In their limited practice time, coaches have implemented more scrimmages to get the players back into the game.


“We’ll be adding on actual play and a little closer distance and actually be able to scrimmage,” JV girls assistant coach Tanya Drake said.


Even while needing to maintain distance due to COVID-19, the coaches are working hard to create a sense of camaraderie among the players. 


“[We take] the time to sort of make sure we’re having fun — checking in, being open to questions, comments, [talking about] our favorite moments [after practice]. Everybody comes together in the beginning and at the end [of practice],” Drake said.


On April 22, the boys and girls varsity and JV teams were able to play their first games against Capuchino High School. The boys varsity won their game with a score of 63-39, and girls varsity took their first loss 35-85.


It was awesome to be able to play as a team for really the first time in over a year,” varsity player Lou Marineau said. 


After a hard, unprecedented year, the players are just excited to be able to come together as a team and get back on the court — no matter what the season looks like. Basketball has been a huge part of so many Burlingame students’ young lives, and they are finally able to enjoy it once again.