The Oklahoma Christian University basketball team has been greatly affected by COVID-19 both this and last semester.
They endured multiple large scale quarantines during the fall semester, and since coming back for their 2021 regular season, the Eagles have only been able to travel with their entire lineup the first two games of the season.
“It’s tough, not having everyone playing especially when it’s key players. But we have to endure and have a ‘next man up’ mentality,” sophomore Hunter Staten said.
The Eagles have had five games either postponed or canceled so far this season, including three in a row from Jan. 19 to Jan. 23 during the team’s 12-day hiatus from playing.
“That was a tough time. Not playing or doing anything wasn’t easy. But I think the way we answered after that shows a lot about this team,” Staten said.
Following the 12-day shutdown, the Eagles won their next two games before losing to Midwestern State. Their next game was postponed.
“It sucks because they go to practice everyday and work so hard only for COVID to hit them as hard as it has,” manager Miles Mans said. “We were really starting to figure some things out and playing well after the shutdown and then another game was postponed, just unlucky.”
Oklahoma Christian looks to come back after yet another cancellation following the second postponement of their game against St. Edward’s University.
“We are almost used to it by this point. Having the schedule moved and shuffled around, we just have to keep working and it will work out.” Staten said.
The amount of cancellations and postponements have really fueled this team in practice.
“This is a hungry team,” Mans said. “They hate that COVID has hit them this hard and are out for blood as this season winds down. I’m really excited to see what they put together here.”
The Eagles’ next game is against Texas A&M Commerce on Feb. 18. It is unclear when the postponed games will be played.
Oklahoma Christain has just five games on the schedule for 2021, four of which are at home. If they hope to do something special come postseason tournament time, they need to figure it out quickly. But confidence is high throughout the program.
“Our sights are set on Commerce for now and we will worry about the other games when that time comes,” Staten said. “We need to go on a run here and I think we are set to do just that.”