Rutherford finds new hoops home at Rosenwald

PANAMA CITY, FL (WJHG/WECP) It is also time for area high school basketball teams to begin their regular season.

For some teams, getting things together, post storm, is a much tougher task than usual. Take the Rutherford teams for example. Their gym, damaged by water in the storm, won't be playable for weeks, if not months.

So coach Rhondie Ross and his Rutherford boys team having to find a new hoops home. And that new home is at Rosenwald and C.C. Washington, a little west of the Rutherford campus.

Coach Ross telling me following the storm it took some time to get in contact with the kids, gather them up and then into a practice routine. And again, nothing here is routine!

"It's tough, we've got a very young team, we only have two seniors, we don't have a lot of guys that drive. The guys that do drive are car-pooling, parents. You know just today we're gonna get a closet to keep our gear over here because I've been bringing basketballs and equipment back and forth in my truck. I think it's an outlet for them to get away from everything. I know it's tough for me. You know I drive through this wreckage every day and I can't get used to it. You see what it's done to the community. But I think it brings some normalcy to the guys and it just gives them something to be excited about."

Coach Ross adds he's proud of the way his guys are handling this situation which requires so much extra effort on their part.

"Oh they're very resilient. They're making the most of this situation. You know a lot of them, I wasn't in contact with them for about a week. The guys were really anxious, especially the seniors, they wanted to know if we were going to have a season. And I assure them we were going to have a season. And thank God to the administration at Rosenwald and C.C. Washington that they are allowing us to use their facility."

As for when the team might be able to get back and play in their home gym, the Spiva Ram House?

"I have no idea. It's one of those wait and see kind of things right now. You know we're just happy to be getting back in school and getting a little normalcy. I'm sure in the coming weeks they're going to let us know what the plan is going forward. The majority of our games are going to be here. We're going to try and find a bigger venue for the bigger games, but right now this is home. You know it's kind of nostalgic because I went to Rosenwald as a youngster, so it's kind of fun being back in here."

The Rams host their 10th annual preseason Tipoff Classic Monday and Tuesday, and will host that event at Bozeman. The Bucks, Mosley, Bay, Graceville and St. Joe joining the Rams this year for that.