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Riverview HS basketball team's run for regional trophy abruptly ends with COVID case in Trenton

Posted at 8:59 PM, Mar 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-30 20:59:52-04

RIVERVIEW (WXYZ) — "I didn't believe it at first," said Rayah Kolbusz about the text she received from her head coach Monday.

Rob Sauter, Head Coach for Riverview Community High School's girls varsity basketball team, said it was a difficult text to send to his team, knowing how much work the girls had put into going far in the playoffs.

They had just won their district championship Friday and regionals were next, but their playoff run was over.

The athletic director had just informed Sauter that a player on the team they played against Friday had tested positive for COVID.

Sauter looked at the video to see how long the player on the opposing team was in the game.

"She played 8 minutes. So, not a lot of minutes, but she played 8 minutes," Sauter said. "And by the rules, by the protocol, we were shut down."

After a season of wearing masks during practices and games and skipping their spring break to be in the playoffs, the Riverview Pirates team was now out of the playoffs.

"It was really just devastating because we had no control over it," Olivia Stergiadis told 7 Action News Tuesday as she stood next to some of her dedicated teammates outside their school.

"It was really shocking because it was our last game we played together and we didn't even know," said Madison Chase. "We thought we were going to regionals and having a good time and taking home a trophy and we didn't expect any of this."

And they thought about the players who wouldn't get a chance to do it again on their high school team.

"We feel bad for the seniors," said Haley Guest, a junior. "It was their last game without them knowing."

Haley's mother, Jennifer Guest, said it was hard on the girls and their parents who knew how hard they worked.

"We watched them put in so much and to have it taken away like that," said Guest. "In the next few seconds, I'm thinking, as a parent myself, of the player who is sick and who tested positive, praying that they're okay. It was difficult on both ends."

And with the work they had put into preparing for a good run in the playoffs, the girls believed the only thing that could stop them was COVID.

"We were grateful to have a season," said Kolbusz. "We just weren't ready for it to end."

And they were reminded of some of life's lessons.

"Don't take anything for granted because you never know when it can be taken away from you and just give it your all," said Stergiadis.

And the team is already hungry for next season.

"We're going to come back and finish what we started," said Assistant Coach Kevin Gripp.

But there will be some change, according to Chase, a sophomore. "We're coming harder."