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Enthusiasm on the Estacada basketball court was high in spite of a shortened season because of the COVID-19 pandemic

COURTESY PHOTO - The Estacada High School men's varsity basketball team had a record of 8-4 for the 2021 season.

Four members of the Estacada High School boys varsity basketball team received league honors for the 2021 season.

Senior Elijah Crombie, senior Justin Lang, sophomore Cody White and sophomore Dominic Nacoste were honored for their performances on the court. Additionally, Estacada varsity coach Kyle Gilstad was voted coach of the year by the league's other coaches.

"It was an honor to get it. I don't do it for the accolades, so it would have been cooler if another kid got an honor above me," he said. "But it was really cool."

Prior to the basketball season's start in March, here was much uncertainty surrounding what it would look like because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It was up in the air until the week before it started. It wasn't looking like we could have one, but then we got the go-ahead. Just getting to have a season was good," Gilstad said.

The season ran from Wednesday, May 12, through Monday, June 21. Typically, it lasts from November to March.

"There are normally around 65 practices. This year, we had 19 practices," said junior varsity coach Jim Carey.

Prior to the season's official start, the team trained outdoors for several weeks in December, in spite of the blustery weather.

"It was mighty cold, but we did a lot of ball handling and skill development," he said.

To ensure pandemic safety, there were marks on the court to help with social distancing, masks were worn and each player had their own ball.

"It was different, but the kids showed up," Gilstad said.

In spite of an unusual season, enthusiasm was high among team members.

"Everyone was excited to be there. Our success fed off that," Gilstad said.

A total of 24 students participated, and there was one varsity team and two junior varsity teams.

The varsity team had a record of 8-4, junior varsity one had a record of 3-8 and junior varsity two had a record of 0-4.

This is the second year in a row the program has had enough participants to have three teams.

"We're trying to make it our staple," Gilstad said. "We're trying to get our numbers back up. I came through the Estacada program … back then we had four teams."

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