TAWAS CITY – Is this how anyone envisioned the high school basketball season would start? Probably not. That being said, area hoop squads, the Tawas Area boys’ team included, are certainly excited to get their chance on the court. 

“We are a go, but it looks like it could be crazy, everyone wants to play games right away,” veteran head coach Todd Kaems said. “I’m kind of like, this is strange, we haven’t even had a contact practice yet and we are talking about playing a game. This was thrust on us all of a sudden and I don’t even know who I want to put on the floor yet. We can throw guys in but it may be more like a scrimmage-type atmosphere this week.” 

The Braves finished last season 9-12 and were scheduled to play Clare in a Division 2 district championship game before the MHSAA postponed and eventually cancelled the tournament due to the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Seniors Elijah Gonzalez (forward), Jace Lear (guard), Nick Maynard (guard), Rodney Reedy (forward) and Caleb Stone (center) return to the team while juniors Ben Calleja (forward), Gavin Dukaj (guard), Gabe Kaniszewski (forward) and sophomores Granite Barringer (forward), Vinnie Frank (guard), Ethan Hedglin (guard), Alex Kaems (guard), Jake Look (guard) and Evan Mochty (guard) all join the team. 

“Because we haven’t really been able to have contact practices it is hard to know where our guys fit in,” Kaems said. “The guys have looked good in practice from a skill standpoint and a drill standpoint. We are just going to have to see how it shakes out moving forward; we have a lot to learn.” 

Considering there were some in the high school basketball scene that were doubting there even would be a season, Kaems is certainly happy to be gearing up to send his team out to play some games.

“We are excited to be playing, back in the gym and practicing,” he said. “Even if the season was cancelled and they let us practice we would have until spring sports started. I was kind of at the point where I thought the season would get axed.

“Are we ready to play? That term is relative,” he added. “But, are we ready to play from an aspect of wanting to compete and play, we are. I think our expectations as coaches, as fans and players and parents just have to be tempered because we are not ready like we have been in the past.” 

Tawas opened its season at Byron on Tuesday, hosts Ogemaw Heights on Thursday and remains home on Saturday to play Midland Calvary Baptist.

“At least we are going to play and we can get out there and compete and it will be fun,” Kaems said. “Everyone is in the same boat. I think the biggest thing is to get the kids back having fun, playing and enjoying the game.” 

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