Ranney School Cleared to Return for Jersey Shore Postseason
After more than 48 hours of uncertainty, one of the state's top boys basketball programs has been cleared to resume.
The Ranney School concluded its internal COVID-19 protocol Thursday and the New Jersey Department of Health cleared the team to resume its season immediately, Ranney athletic director Natalie Gorman confirmed.
Gorman said she notified Shore Conference Boys Postseason director Nick Pizzulli that the Panthers boys team will be entering next week's pod playoff. Ranney canceled all three of its scheduled games this week and will hold its first in-person practice since the shutdown on Thursday, Gorman said.
Ranney canceled its Monday game vs. Trenton Catholic upon learning of a positive test in its program and conducted contact tracing to determine if the team had to shut down. While most programs have shut down under similar circumstances, Ranney was cleared by the Department of Health because the person in question was not within close contact of the rest of the team at the onset of symptoms and the team had not met in-person in the prior 48 hours because of the snowstorm on Thursday, according to Gorman.
Ranney announced via a statement it was resuming its boys basketball season on Tuesday only to learn of another case in which at least one additional person in its program was experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19. According to Gorman, the team was again cleared when those program members were tested and were negative for the virus.
Despite the possibility that the team would be able to return to action in time to play by the end of the week, Gorman said she elected to cancel games with Red Bank Catholic and Colonia for Friday and Saturday to give the athletic directors a chance to schedule different games in the event that Ranney did have to shut down close to those dates.
"We just wanted to be extremely safe and we wanted to make sure we were doing the right thing," Gorman said. "We didn't want to put another team or school at risk and since we didn't have a definite answer, we wanted to give those other schools a chance to play somebody else, which is what they did."
Ranney is currently 7-0 overall and figures to be one of the top two seeds in the Shore Conference postseason. Every team entered will be placed in a pod and the pod with the top eight teams will be playing for the de facto Shore Conference championship.