ASHLAND, Ore. — It's been over a year since the Southern Oregon men's basketball team played a game on any court. This time last year, the Raiders were looking to keep their season going at the national tournament, not starting a season.
But the pandemic has made many alterations in our lives, the start of the Cascade Collegiate Conference basketball season is one of them. The Raiders, however, are just glad to be playing basketball again.
"All of our guys have just been in the gym as much as they can, just trying to find even an outside hoop to go shoot at," redshirt senior Josh Washington said Tuesday. "I know these guys have been itching to get out here and play, just been working out and just finding a place to shoot hoops or something."
Since their last game, the Raiders have had about 73 practices. They spent a lot of the time getting back into game shape so they're ready to go when competitions pick back up in a few days. Conditioning has been one of the hardest things to work on since their two and a half month hiatus earlier in the winter. But now, it's time to play.
"Now only about 15 or 18 have been full contact," head coach Brian McDermott told NewsWatch 12 Sports at practice on Tuesday. "But 73 practices. Normally if you go about 17 or 18 they're done with ya man, they want to play. So I think they're ready."
They'll open up with "The Clash in the Cascades," taking on their rival Oregon Tech in a two-game series. The Owls have already played four games this season, which could give them an advantage. SOU, though, is ready and just wants to get back on the hardwood.
"I'm all for that challenge and I'm excited for it," Washington said. "I mean, obviously, we wish there were fans to participate but it's going to be as much as a fun game as it would with or without fans."
The Raiders will travel to OIT and play the Owls on Friday at 4 pm and Saturday at 2 pm. Both games are to be played at Danny Miles Court.