Seneca, Woodland varsity boys basketball seasons halted by COVID-19

RURAL STREATOR and SENECA — Both the Woodland High School and Seneca High School varsity boys basketball seasons were halted Wednesday because of a suspected exposure to COVID-19.

The teams – both members of the Tri-County Conference – played each other Tuesday night.

A statement released late Wednesday afternoon by Seneca athletic director Steve Haines stated:

“Due to a COVID-19 situation with Seneca HS, tonight’s game vs. Henry-Senachwine (High School) has been canceled. Tonight’s JV game vs. Henry-Senachwine will be played tonight as scheduled at 5:30 p.m. In regards to the remaining games on the schedule, all varsity contests have been canceled.”

The Fighting Irish’s remaining schedule included Friday vs. Roanoke-Benson, Monday vs. Dwight and March 10 at Serena.

Woodland superintendent Ryan McGuckin said no one on the team has exhibited any symptoms, but the Warriors’ games will be canceled until the team is tested next week with hopes it can finish the season with the scheduled March 11 home game against Serena.

In a statement, McGuckin wrote:

“This afternoon it was brought to our attention of a varsity boys basketball opponent’s player testing COVID positive after exhibiting severe COVID symptoms this morning. The Woodland administration this afternoon worked with the Livingston County Health Department on a plan of action while awaiting test results in case the student-athlete was in fact positive.

“Erring on the side of caution, the varsity boys basketball team was sent home to remote learn this afternoon and will remain on remote learning until the morning of March 10. We have canceled our game this evening vs. Roanoke-Benson and have made our future opponents aware of the situation. ...

“Our Woodland varsity basketball players will be placed on quarantine due to possible exposure. With Woodland being a COVID testing site, we will be able to test our players on March 10, thus determining if any player has been infected. If our team has negative results (which we hope they will), we plan to play our last game of the season on Thursday, March 11, against Serena at 5:30 pm at the Warrior Dome. If there is a positive test amongst our team, we will work with the health department to determine our next form of action.”

Woodland had been scheduled to host Marquette on Friday, host Flanagan-Cornell on Saturday and visit Tri-Point on Tuesday before the still-possible Serena game.

J.T. Pedelty

J.T. is a graduate of Streator High School, Illinois Valley Community College and Southern Illinois University-Carbondale who is just over two decades into an award-winning sports journalism career.