Mat Mikesell

Players try to stay busy as brutal winter eliminates practice, school

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Feb. 8, 2019 1:50 am

School cancellations usually mean students get a chance to get a few extra hours of sleep, catch up on a Netflix show or play the hottest video game.

Trent Klocke, however, has used the time he'd normally spend in school and at practice for the Knox County boys basketball team helping out around the house. Klocke's dad, Jeff, was hospitalized for five days with a leg infection last week, and that left Klocke to tend to the house. He's done the usual chores like laundry, cooking and doing the dishes.

It also meant taking care of the 50-plus chickens the family has on the property by feeding them, collecting eggs and giving them hay for the coop.

"It was pretty stressful," said Klocke, a junior for the Eagles. "We just did everything to get the house ready for my dad when he returned."

Jeff was released from the hospital last Friday. Knox County, meanwhile, continues to pile up weather-related cancellations.

Basketball practices and games also have been sparse. The Eagles have played one game since finishing the Tony Lenzini Tournament on Jan. 16, and the team's last mandatory practice was the following day.

It's allowed Klocke more free time that he's used by heading for the woods.

With deer hunting season over, Klocke has spent the days off looking for antlers the deer have begun shedding. Klocke estimates he and his brother have spent 12 hours this week shed hunting.

He says it's time consuming, but worth it when they find the perfect antler.

"We just walk miles and miles," he said. "I know my brother walked 8 miles one day, and I think I walked 6 today. It's cold, but you just dress warm and get your exercise for the day."

Finding ways to stay active when the brutal wintry weather has made traveling dangerous has been the challenge for basketball teams across the area.

Payson Seymour senior guard Tanner Cannady has found a way for the Indians to stay active by rounding up teammates and heading to a gym in Quincy like the Kroc Center or the YMCA. They usually do shootarounds and play a few pickup games against one another.

"We've got some guys that are willing to go out and get some shots up," Cannady said. "We try to go somewhere that can work so we can move and stay in shape, and we aren't sitting around and doing nothing."

It's still not the same.

"I'm missing basketball," Klocke said. "It keeps me out of trouble, I guess you could say. I can't even remember our record."

Everyone is ready for better weather and a normal schedule.

"High school basketball has been the best part of my last four years," Cannady said. "You wish could get those back when you start missing games and practices. It's been chaotic if I had to describe this season."