Different sport. Unfortunately, same story.

The Panther basketball team, like too many other programs on Woodlawn’s campus and around the state of Louisiana, have already been affected by COVID-19.

After a season opening 73-49 victory over St. Thomas Aquinas, the Panthers got the phone call that their season would be paused for two weeks. Because of the timing of the shut-down, Woodlawn has not been able to see their complete team on the practice court together.

“The football players were able to return to us the weekend before we played our first game,” said second year Head Coach Brad Voight.

“We received the call the day after our game, and we have not been able to practice as a collective team!”

The Panthers return a solid core from their team that finished the 2019-2020 season with a 24-11 record. Senior Guards Bryan Sledge, Ja’Viya Williams, and Jackson Howard are all returning to lead Coach Voight’s squad.

The return of football players to the basketball court gave the Panthers a significant boost, as returning Sophomore Rickie Collins was named to the first team All-District team last season. Coach Voight is also excited to see if some of the other two-sport athletes can be contributors this season.

“This should be a fun and exciting team to watch. Although we are in a different type of year with the pandemic, we still have players that have taken steps to become better players and more coachable athletes. Our depth should be better, but we will find that out for sure once we get an opportunity to put everything together on the practice floor.

When the Panthers return, they will hit the court at a full sprint, with an extremely busy schedule. Woodlawn will play four games between December 17th and December 22nd, before taking a short break for the Christmas holidays.

Woodlawn High will then face Tara in the first round of the EBR Parish Tournament on December 26th at 11 am at Scotlandville High. The Panthers were named the eighth seed in the parish tournament despite only having one game played.

Once the EBR Parish Tournament concludes, the Panthers are looking forward to District 5-5A play, which will begin on January 22nd with a game at Dutchtown High.

Coach Voight pointed out that each game the Panthers get to play this season is a blessing, because of the constant possibility of the program being shut down. He also spoke about the two goals that the program set for this season.

“The first goal is making the playoffs. You cannot win a state championship if you are not invited to state tournament! Second, we set the goal back in October to have a team GPA of a 3.0 this year. We feel that this is an attainable goal that our program can reach.”