Without asking for it, one local high school team was at the center of the whirlwind of COVID-19 precautions that began in early March.
During their way to the state championship, the Sheldon Huskies boys basketball team just won the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Championship when their season appeared to end due to precautions related to COVID-19 by Elk Grove Unified School District officials.
Their second-round CIF NorCal playoff game against Dublin was canceled the same day it was to be held and, as a result, the Huskies protested. Several steps later, they saw their season back on track in a rescheduled Open Division semifinal game against Dublin.
The Huskies went on to win a 59-58 thriller before their season was ended for good when the CIF cancelled the remainder of the playoffs on March 12 as a measure of caution due to the pandemic.
The cancellation was the same day as Sheldon’s scheduled game at Laney College in Oakland against Bishop O’Dowd.
As a result of winning two championships and their prevailing mindset during a confusing and hectic storm, the Huskies earned their spot as the Elk Grove Citizen’s Team of the Year.
They finished the season having earned a spot in the NorCal Regional Finals against Bishop O’Dowd, ranked second in the state and fifth in the nation, and won their fifth Delta League Championship in six years and won their second consecutive D1 Section Championship.
The Huskies, who was one of the Citizen’s two Teams of the Year in 2019, ended the league season with a 10-2 record and were 28-5 overall.
Sheldon worked their way past Monterey Trail and Gregori early in the section playoffs, then defeated Rocklin in the D1 semifinals to earn their spot in the D1 title game, which they won 49-46.
Bouncing back with the school district’s support when the district advocated for the Huskies to be reinstated into the Nor Cal playoffs after determining that it’d be safe to do so, the Huskies’ talent and season are one for the books.
The 2020 squad’s future is undetermined for the moment and will rely on COVID-19 county tier levels as well as guidance from the CIF in order for a chance to make a run of its own and continue the Huskies’ legacy.
“It’s one of the best teams I’ve coached,” Sheldon head coach Joey Rollings told The Citizen on March 12 after learning the CIF playoffs were cancelled. “We had some very talented players; this could have been the year but we’ll never know. I think we’ve proven ourselves to be one of the top teams in the nation.”