Deerfield Board of Health nixes Frontier Regional’s first week of basketball games 

Sports Editor
Published: 1/22/2021 6:22:39 PM

The Deerfield Board of Health voted 3-0 in a special meeting Friday night in favor of recommending games not be played for the Frontier Regional School basketball programs next week. The decision essentially postpones the first week of games for the Red Hawks, which had been scheduled to begin on Tuesday night with boys and girls games against Turners Falls High School.

Frontier had also been slated to play Franklin Tech on Thursday, though the BOH said it would revisit the decision to play games in another meeting next Friday night at 5 p.m. with the following week of contests in mind.

“I feel very uncomfortable with games being played this week,” offered Deerfield BOH member Carolyn Shores Ness. “It’s not a problem playing and practicing here, but I think there is a problem with actually playing the games against other schools.”

Fellow member Trevor McDaniel echoed Shores Ness’ comments, saying he supported postponing the first week of basketball games as Deerfield moves into the ‘red’ designation for COVID-19.

“We said we didn’t want to play a school in the red and now it’s not really fair for us to go and play schools when we’re in the red,” McDaniel explained. “We do have a good eye on where the cases are here but it’s very perilous right now.”

Shores Ness said she spoke to BOH members in both Greenfield and Montague, and from her understanding via those conversations, Greenfield wasn’t going to be playing basketball games next week and Turners Falls was “week by week.”

The Greenfield School Committee voted last week to approve games and competitions to be played in its district despite recommendation from the Greenfield Board of Health that they only take part in skills and drills practices. Greenfield athletic director Mike Kuchieski confirmed Friday night that his department is planning to move forward with basketball games for next week, with the openers for both boys and girls set to be played Tuesday against Mahar.

The Greenfield hockey cooperative program is on a pause for practices until Jan. 26 due to COVID protocol, though Kuchieski said the intention was for the team to still play its season-opening tilt against Chicopee on Jan. 30 should protocols be cleared prior.

Turners Falls AD Adam Graves said Friday night that his basketball programs are ready for games next week. Asked about losing the opener against Frontier due to Friday’s Deerfield BOH vote, Graves said he would do everything he could to still try and get an eight- or nine-game season for his programs.

Deerfield’s decision Friday night does not expect to interfere with alpine skiing or hockey for the time being. Frontier has seven skiers competing in a cooperative program with Mohawk Trail Regional, and those skiers competed in their first meet of the season Thursday night. Shores Ness said skiers would still be allowed to compete, and the BOH couldn’t make a decision about hockey as it falls under Greenfield’s jurisdiction as the host school.

The Friday vote leaves Tuesday’s opening night of Franklin County bubble games with five varsity tilts, down from eight. Athol High School boys varsity basketball coach and AD Dan Bevis confirmed that his team paused activities due to COVID protocols for at least the next week and won’t be playing Franklin Tech on Tuesday, though the JV team is still expected to compete, as are both the JV and varsity girls’ programs.

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