Tigers' star Syd Harris

EDWARDSVILLE - It is no secret Edwardsville is a fanatic sports town. An announcement on Thursday morning by Governor J.B. Pritzker probably almost shook the walls at the high school and the city. After a long hiatus, basketball is back.

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For years, there has been a tremendous following for the basketball, football teams and all other sports. The COVID-19 Pandemic has derailed the Edwardsville teams since the fall, but with positive numbers down, the reigns are being loosened.

Boys and girls bowling and swimming were already a go for winter, but Thursday morning, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Region 4 of Restore Illinois for COVID-19 has been moved to Phase 4, which allows boys and girls basketball games to begin.

Edwardsville Athletic Director Alex Fox couldn’t be more excited about Gov. Pritzker's decision.

“It looks like we are going to get our winter sports in," he said. "I am absolutely excited,” Fox said on Thursday morning. “We are ready to move into this phase and get started.”

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Edwardsville’s girls' basketball team will host Belleville West at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Edwardsville, while the boys travel to Belleville West for a 2:30 p.m. encounter. Action for the boys and girls will continue on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday with both the girls and boys playing the same Southwestern Conference team, but at different locations.

Fox explained that at the beginning of the 2021 winter basketball season, tickets will be required to enter home games. Parents will have to check with the athletic department for tickets. Anyone attending the games must wear a face mask and have a temperature check at the door. Schools throughout the state will administer the same procedures according to new IHSA game standards.

"There will not be anyone in the gym without a mask," Fox said.

Fox commended the superintendents, legislators, and everyone who lobbied the governor to allow basketball to commence.

“We will take precautions to avoid the spread,” he said. “A special kudos also go out to everybody in the community who reached out.

“The level of excitement with the players, coaches and parents shows.”

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