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MARICOPA — Last season was a strange year for the Maricopa girls basketball program. After nine straight winning seasons, including a Division II state title, the Rams suffered more losses than wins. However, the Rams have their hopes on starting another winning streak this season and getting the program back to a state championship.

The Rams finished 12-14 (2-8) in the 5A San Tan League, but the losing occurred toward the end of the season. Maricopa started 11-7, but ended their season losing seven out of eight games.

This season the Rams will not be participating in the 5A San Tan League. Maricopa has been moved up a level and will be playing in the 6A Desert Southwest League. The Rams’ third-year head coach, Rashawn Calvert, is ready to contend in another division.

“With moving to 6A this season, it will be difficult, but our goal is to compete,” said Calvert. “I would love to see this program get back to a state championship.”

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it has left many student-athletes around the nation wondering about their chances of playing sports. The Arizona Interscholastic Association executive board made the decision Jan. 8 to stop winter sports from competing, but the board would end up reversing their decision just four days later.

“When they canceled, I was sad for my seniors,” said Calvert. “When they brought winter sports back, it was bittersweet. I want my kids to play, but I’m very aware with how serious COVID-19 is on a personal matter. We will be taking all health precautions during out season.”

The health precautions that the AIA has laid out is that the season can start on Jan. 18 with mask usage for everyone for the entirety of the game. Then, each school will have to complete a AIA COVID-19 Monitoring Form the day of games. Also, two parents or legal guardians may attend the home games of their student-athlete.

“Life is about more than basketball,” said Calvert. “Since day one of this season, we have preached to our players, each day we are allowed on this court is a blessing. Any given day we could be shut down and told it’s over. More importantly, on any given day, COVID or life in general, can hit your household.”

Some schools around the country won’t be playing basketball this year, including some of those in Arizona that decided to opt-out of the season. However, even though these are tough times, the team has meant a lot to Calvert.

“I love the diversity I have in my program,” smiled Calvert. “The kids all come from many different backgrounds and share the same passion for the sport.”

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