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2nd PNG player tests positive for COVID; Barbers Hill game moved

PORT NECHES — A second Port Neches-Groves basketball player tested positive for the coronavirus Monday, head coach Chris Smith said.

The positive result came back nearly a week after a player tested positive Wednesday (Dec. 30), prior to a scheduled tipoff against Beaumont United.

The Indians rescheduled the game against the Timberwolves, while the rest of the team was deemed to be “close contacts” and had to quarantine for five days until the players could produce a negative test result. Smith said of the four “close contact” players, one came back positive.

PNG pushed back its upcoming district game against Barbers Hill from Tuesday to Wednesday, which is when the rest of the “close contact” players return.

“It’s been a little nerve wracking,” Smith said. “The worst-case scenario was that all five test positive and then we have a complete shutdown. Luckily, I think we did a pretty good job of keeping everybody away for five days. It came at a good time, where we had a break, too. Not being able to practice has been kind of tough.”

Smith said he is looking forward to a Wednesday morning practice.

“It will be out of the norm for us,” he said. “That will be the first time we have our full squad back. Then, we will do our normal stuff during our period and get on the bus and head to Barbers Hill.”

Smith said the player that tested positive is doing well.

“I talked to him (Monday) and he said he will be ready to go Friday, which is when his 10 days will be up,” Smith said.

As positive cases continue to spike across the country and especially in Texas, Smith is worried about the potential for a shortened season.

“That has been weighing on the back of my mind since day one,” he said. “I never would’ve thought that when they shut down baseball last year. I watch the news every day and just see those numbers rise. Especially since we are an indoor sport, it does worry me a little more than outdoor sports. All we can do is pray and think about it. Hopefully, they can give these kids a chance to finish the season. I hope they do, because they deserve it. These seniors have been through so much already. I’d love to see them finish their season out.”

PNG tips off against the Eagles at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Barbers Hill.