BKB Colton Justice Tip Toe 800pix

Colton Justice and his Payson varsity boys basketball teammates have had to walk the tight rope of uncertainty with delays, cancelation then a reversal leading up to the start of the season.

Come on out tonight and watch the Longhorns tip off another basketball season against Fountain Hills at Wilson Dome.

Oh, wait.

Sorry.

Let me zero in on the only ones this applies to.

Come on out tonight parents of the 29 varsity, JV and freshman boys basketball players.

That’s all that’s allowed.

And don’t plan on sticking around for the 6 o’clock freshman game, you JV parents. You’re supposed to depart the arena after the 4:30 JV game.

And freshman parents should leave before the 7:30 varsity game.

At least, that was the recommendation made during the AIA Executive Board meeting on Jan. 12 that resulted in overturning a vote four days earlier to cancel winter sports across the state.

All three boys games take place in the dome because Fountain Hills canceled its part in the varsity girls game. There was no JV girls game on the schedule.

This is another blow to the JV girls, who also won’t have a game when the varsity girls and all three boys teams take on Blue Ridge at home on Feb. 10 and in Lakeside on Feb. 25. The Yellow Jackets don’t have enough players to field JV and freshman teams. Payson also doesn’t have a freshman girls team.

So that leaves the JV girls with just seven games on the schedule posted at azpreps365.com starting Jan. 26 at home against Winslow.

The varsity girls have just 13 scheduled games after the cancellation of Saturday’s varsity girls’ game at Ben Franklin.

Everyone in attendance must wear masks covering their nose and mouth at all times, including players and wrestlers.

The Longhorns open the wrestling season at home against Mesa Eastmark at 6 p.m. on Wednesday.

They’ll wrestle under the spotlight in front of their parents.

In the dark, the small crowd won’t be so noticeable.

Maybe they’ll scream and yell loud enough for Longhorn victories to make it seem almost normal. Many home wrestling matches haven’t drawn sizable crowds in the last two decades, anyway.

But some will be there, which is better than the original plan not to allow any spectators this winter.

And the student-athletes will try to have a season, after all.

That’s something to celebrate.

No matter how strange it is.

Let’s just hope they get to complete it.

Contact the reporter at kmorris@payson.com

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