High school basketball team’s season saved after COVID protocols had initially forced forfeit

Coral Gables will be allowed to continue playoff run

Coral Gables High basketball team hopes to keep season alive after COVID-19 forfeit
Coral Gables High basketball team hopes to keep season alive after COVID-19 forfeit

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The Coral Gables High School boy’s basketball team will be allowed to continue its season after initially being forced to forfeit a playoff game over the weekend because of COVID-19 safety protocols.

Miami-Dade County Public Schools announced that Coral Gables will be allowed to play host to Miami Palmetto on Friday night after the Cavaliers had been forced to forfeit that game this past Saturday.

Miami Sunset and Miami Edison will also get to play Wednesday night after Sunset had a similar COVID-related cancellation.

“It means everything to them, especially our seniors, to get to this level, to compete for a state championship,” said Marcos Molina, a Coral Gables assistant coach and father of one of the team’s players

Molina said Coral Gables’ players and coaches were tested Thursday and had no positive cases. However, Christopher Columbus High, whom the Cavaliers recently played, reported players testing positive, triggering a 14-day quarantine for Coral Gables and a forfeit of their regional playoff game Saturday.

“It’s almost as if everything we worked for has been taken away,” Molina said.

Molina said the team was devastated to have its season cut short that way, saying they provided their negative tests to the school board.

A spokeswoman for the school district said Monday they were working with the Florida High School Athletics Association to see if they could resolve what they had called a “fluid” situation.

And they did.

“After days of negotiations with the FHSAA and schools outside the District, M-DCPS is pleased to announce that a resolution has been reached,” the district said in a statement. “Teams that were forced to forfeit games in the regional playoffs, due to different quarantine protocols in public and non-public schools, will now be allowed to participate. All participating schools have agreed to play games on an alternate schedule following the District’s current health guidelines; however, no further adjustments can be accommodated beyond this point.”

Christopher Columbus High School sympathized with Coral Gables and said they were glad they didn’t cause their opponents to be eliminated from the postseason.

“As a school which was forced to quarantine their basketball team twice this year due to possible COVID-19 exposure from other teams, Christopher Columbus High School understands and sympathizes with the situation that the Coral Gables Basketball Team had found themselves in,” Columbus said in a statement. “We have tremendous respect for the Cavaliers and are happy to hear that they have now been permitted to continue on to play in the regional finals. Christopher Columbus High School remained in full compliance with the protocol of the Department of Health and the CDC as well as its own medical director throughout the entire season, maintaining full transparency with Coral Gables High School and the DOH throughout the process.”

The schedule changes also took cooperation from Broward County.

“With all the challenges we’ve faced with COVID-19, being able to pivot quickly is part of the game. Broward County Public Schools was happy to work with officials at Miami-Dade County Public Schools and the Florida High School Athletics Association to make this opportunity available for the student-athletes,” BCPS said in a statement.

About the Author: