2.18 berea girls

It’s been an extremely frustrating season for the Berea Community girls basketball team.

The Lady Pirates (6-3) had several players and coaches significantly impacted by COVID-19 last month and didn’t play a game for almost three weeks.

They came out of quarantine just in time to try to get ready for one of the most important parts of their schedule.

Then, there was even more bad news.

On Tuesday morning, it was announced that the All “A” State Tournament had been canceled.

“Every setback is like starting over,” Berea Community coach Dammian Stepp said.

The event was set to get under way on Tuesday afternoon at Eastern Kentucky University’s McBrayer Arena, but the entire tournament was canceled because of winter weather and travel-related issues.

The Pirates were scheduled to take on Shelby Valley in the opening round of the tournament. The game was originally scheduled for 9 p.m. Monday, before being moved to noon on Thursday.

The event will not be re-scheduled.

“There’s just been a range of emotions,” Stepp said on Tuesday night. “It’s tough on the kids.”

The Lady Pirates qualified for the All “A” State Tournament for the third-straight season by winning the 11th Region title in January on their home court with a win over Frankfort, 58-45.

Berea played just two more games before going into COVID-19 quarantine.

The Lady Pirates finally returned to the court last Friday and picked up a tremendous victory. Alexis Newman hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to lift Berea to a 57-55 win over South Laurel — last year’s 13th Region champion — in Berea.

The coaching staff and players spent the next three days preparing for a match-up with Shelby Valley, which never happened.

“We had four films on them that we went over with a fine-tooth comb,” Stepp said. “That was all just wasted time.”

The Lady Pirates picked up a win over Wolfe County in the opening round of the 2019 All “A” Classic before falling to West Carter.

Last season, Berea fell to Bethlehem in the opening round of the small school state tournament at McBrayer Arena.

The Lady Pirates returned most of the players from those two teams this season and believed they could go even deeper into the event.

“We felt like we had a good shot,” Stepp said.

The Lady Pirates, as of now, are scheduled to return to action Saturday at home against Bourbon County.

But, COVID-19 issues and winter weather could still affect the team’s schedule as the regular-season draws to a close.

“Hopefully we can get a string of three of four games a week for the next three weeks of the season,” Stepp said.

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