PANAMA CITY, FL (WJHG/WECP) The Harrison Field House on the campus of Gulf Coast State College is again alive with the sounds of bouncing basketballs!
Both the women and the men able to get back to work this week in the familiar surroundings, on the floor named for women's head coach Roonie Scovel!
The surrounding facilities took some serious water damage, so right now no locker rooms available, no weight room, the players are doing study hall in the lobby there!
Both teams starting their regular seasons on the road last weekend, the women with a win over Daytona at Northwest Florida's Arena.
The men split two games in Pensacola's gym. That after having worked out in various high school gyms to the west, and the coaches thankful for those opportunities!
"It's been a group effort to get us back on the floor, that's for sure." Jay Powell told me Tuesday afternoon. "Vernon High School and South Walton High School, they were so generous. And when do you need it? Mr. Riviere, (Vernon's Principal) and (Vernon) coach Register and (South Walton) coach Smith, all of them just really stepped up in our moment of need there. So we just can't thank them enough."
"South Walton, Freeport, Walton High School, we went to the three different schools at different times, working around their schedules, them working around our schedule." says Roonie Scovel "And they welcomed us in, embraced us, you know, just kind of catered to us, It was kind of nice. The bad thing part was just traveling, you know putting in a couple of hours on the road, two or three hours just to go to a practice."
Both coaches believe they are two or three weeks behind in terms of basketball preparations, but there's nothing they can do about that at this point, but work a little extra in practice these days. And still they believe given all they have been through, their players, and perhaps their teams, will be better for it.
"It was beneficial," says coach Powell "I wish we didn't have to go through all of it, but it was beneficial to us as a group, I can already see that. And beneficial to these guys, not to get too reflective. But it's been a positive."
Says coach Scovel "With what our kids...we lost a teammate in September, and a month later people have lost lives, and their homes and everything that they had. So this is definitely a life lesson and we'll be better for it and we'll be stronger for it. You know I teased somebody and said if this builds character, we're pretty character strong."
The ladies back to Niceville for games Friday and Saturday, the men head up to Barnesville, south of Atlanta, for two this weekend.