By Steve Ruman
A new generation of basketball has emerged at Girard High.
No, the Indians haven’t changed their playing style. There’s no newfangled look which distinguishes the current team from its predecessors. In fact, Indians’ coach Andy Saxon would suggest his current players very much resemble a group he guided a generation ago.
The roster includes four players whose mothers also played for the Indians under Saxon: Lindsay Durkin, Camille Stoffick, Shymara Dykes and Alasjia Dykes.
Lindsay’s mom, Robin Durkin, is a junior varsity coach at Girard. Shymara and Alasjia’s mom, Marisha Dykes, coaches in the district at the junior high level.
“It’s a pretty neat experience,” Saxon said. “I look at these girls, and I see a lot of similarities with their moms. Not only in looks, but in mannerisms, in work ethic, in the way they go about things both on and off the court. It’s fun. I was blessed to have their moms on my team a few years ago, and it’s an honor that those moms have now given me the opportunity to coach their daughters.”
Saxon has been coaching at Girard for 27 years and recorded 300-plus victories.
“It’s amazing how time flies. These girls are a perfect reminder of that,” Saxon said. “One day, I’m coaching one group of girls. It seems like only two or three years pass, and the next thing I know I’m coaching their daughters.”
MOTHER NATURE’S FURY
The inclement weather which closed area schools this week also played havoc with the slate of area games scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday. Some, but not all games were postponed, leaving fans wondering what policies are in place regarding extra-curricular activities on days in which school is canceled. The fact is, those policies differ from school to school.
Inter Tri-County League commissioner Paul Andraso noted that his league as a whole does not have a specific “no school, no play” rule in effect. Instead, the decision is left up to individual districts, which have varying policies.
“Some school districts say that if school is canceled because of inclement weather, all extra-curricular activities for that day also are automatically canceled,” Andraso said. “Others take what they view as a common sense approach. If things are really bad in the morning, but cleared up by early afternoon, games go on as scheduled.”
The All-American Conference is made up of schools which in the past primarily competed in the Trumbull and the Metro Athletic Conferences. AAC commissioner Rick King noted that the TAC followed a “no school, no play” policy. MAC schools left the decision up to each individual district. The AAC still has no league-wide rule, but some of its schools still follow the “no school, no play” policy.
“Generally, the host school will make the determination, but that also depends on the opponent,” King said.
Tuesday, LaBrae was scheduled to play at Niles, but both districts canceled classes. Although Niles was willing to play, the game was called because of LaBrae’s “no school, no play” policy and rescheduled for Feb. 2.
“It can get tricky when you have a couple of nights wiped out, especially late in the season,” King said. “You don’t want to get into a situation where you’re cramming in games right before the tournament. But at the same time, safety is always our first and foremost priority. Losing one or two nights of games isn’t a big deal. But if we run into more bad weather in February, things could get tricky.”