When the Roncalli boys basketball team travels to Valders on Jan. 3, it will be the Jets’ first game in 13 days. However, the Jets won’t be the only Manitowoc County prep basketball program experiencing a long holiday break.
The Two Rivers boys basketball team plays next on Friday as it hosts Algoma 10 days after its previous game. The Reedsville girls basketball team, after last playing on Friday, won’t see the court again until Jan. 4.
While many teams will experience extended time off, others will encounter stretches where one game is played in the middle of five-day or longer breaks.
It’s something that comes with the territory in terms of the prep basketball season, and Manitowoc County’s coaches are prepared to keep their teams sharp.
The Manitowoc Lutheran girls basketball team, for example, will have alumni come back to practice and scrimmage with the team. The Lancers’ coach Dave Jirikowic said the winter break is a great time to get any team exposed to competition it wouldn’t normally see in a practice setting.
“It would be nice to have a game over the break, but there are pros and cons to (having a game over the break),” Jirikowic said. “I guess with the break the pros would be that you don’t have two and a half weeks in between games so you don’t have the rust that first game back. But the con is if you have a lot of girls with family out of town and they are gone to go out of state to visit relatives, that puts the player in bad position if there is a game that forces them to choose (between visiting or the game).
“My opinion is I don’t really have one, I just know there are both positives and negatives to (not having a game over the break).”
For the Roncalli boys squad, the break is being welcomed as a time to recover physically after a daunting early-season stretch in which the Jets often played two games in three days. Roncalli coach Joe Rux said the break is something his team isn’t looking at as a negative as it will allow it to have more practice time that it had during its tough stretches this season.
“I think (the break has) been good because we have played a lot of games in a row here down the stretch and we’ve had very few practices with multiple games, so getting a big break here is probably going to help our kids more than anything,” Rux said. “It will especially help with their legs, getting their reps and skill development in. It might seem like a big break, but isn’t as bad as it looks on paper.”