It was a disappointing end of the season for the Fowler High School boys basketball team. Not only did the Grizzlies lose to two-time defending champion Yuma in the quarterfinals by a slim 55-51 score, the rest of the Class 2A State Tournament was cancelled over concerns about the coronavirus.
It was especially disappointing for the two Fowler seniors, Johnathan Mobbley and Luke Bitter. The Yuma loss turned out to be their last game of their career.
"I was kind of upset about it," Mobbley said. "I want to play in my last year and we lost to Yuma. I just wanted to finish out the season."
"When I first heard it was cancelled, I was in shock that they cancelled it and didn't let the rest of the tournament at least play out," Bitter said. "At least with no fans and let the tournament play out. But the fact that they cancelled it really surprised me."
"We heard that a lot of major sports were cancelling," said Fowler coach Mark Lowther. "We did hear before our game that that could be the one and only day of the tournament."
Both Mobbley and Bitter said it was a shock when Lowther informed the team of the tournament's cancellation on Friday morning.
"He came up in the morning and said that they cancelled the tournament because of the virus," Mobbley said. "We never really spoke about it. Most of the team was bummed out, but we handled it pretty well as a team."
"It was sad," Bitter said. "Being a senior and I played my last game and I didn't even know it. It was was really sad to have that happen."
"The kids came out of their rooms at the same time," Lowther said. "We all saw the post at the same time and it was kind of numbing. Losing the first game was tough, but the kids always respond well. We were hoping to finish with a couple more wins on the season."
Both Mobbley and Bitter, as well as much of the rest of the team will be on the Fowler baseball team. Both players are hopeful that the baseball season will take place, even though the season is now not scheduled to begin tentatively until April 18.
"I hope they let us play," Mobbley said. "Even if it's starting midseason and finishing it out."
"I hope stuff gets figured out to where we can have some baseball season," Bitter said. "If the whole baseball season gets cancelled, I don't know what I'm going to do. I'll just have a lot of down time."
"They've already pushed the season back to April 18," Lowther said. "So we're hoping the kids will do some throwing and some things on their own. Maybe we can have a little bit of a season and a postseason so theseniors can finish off."
Even though there are no official practices per Colorado High School Activities Association mandates, the Grizzlies are managing to stay in baseball shape.
"I'm just throwing a baseball around with my brother a little bit," Mobbley said. "Most of of my team wants to do a couple of practices on our own and throw the ball around and hit the ball."
"Me and my friends will go up to the field and we'll throw and hit ground balls to each other," Bitter said. "That's all we can do. We can't have any scheduled practices. We'll just go there on our own time and do what we need to do."
"We (the coaches) just can't be around them," Lowther said.
The Yuma game was the final contest for both Mobbley and Bitter. But both plan to attend college and participate in athletics at that level.
"I was going to college to play baseball," Mobbley said.
"As of right now, I'm planning to go play football at the University of Puget Sound in Washington," Bitter said.