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Jerry Mitchell (from left) participates in a shooting drill during a Jan. 16 contact-free practice session while New Buffalo teammates Sean Gordon and Kaden Parmley look on.

LANSING — The Michigan High School Athletic Association’s Representative Council on Jan. 14 approved a plan for adjusting schedules for the five winter “contact” sports which were allowed to begin non-contact activities Jan. 16 and full practice sessions Feb. 1 per the recent update to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) epidemic plan.

Feb. 4 was set as the date for first contests in basketball while wrestling matches were skated to start on Feb. 8, but those plans changed on Jan. 22 when Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced updated COVID-19 guidelines from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, extending the ban on contact sports to Feb. 21.

New Buffalo High School’s boys and girls basketball teams participated in shooting drills, basketball-handling exercises and other non-contact routines on Saturday, Feb. 16.

“This is the very first day” of practice noted NB boys varsity coach Nate Tripp.

“We’ve been doing Zoom, but you can’t get much out of Zoom,” he said.

Tripp said many veteran players are back for the 2021 season (including Kaden Parmley, Anthony Lijewski, Mark Shaw, Nate Tripp Jr., Sean Gordon, Brenden Tanksley and Ben Lijewski) along with newcomer Jerry Mitchell.

The MHSAA hadn’t made any plans based on the new information as of Jan. 22.

David Johnson contributed to this report.

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