The Panthers – as well as other schools in South Dakota – now have an assignment to try to close books during the school year.
In the case of Dakota Valley, Clements will hold meetings with coaches and find ways to respect student-athlete performances throughout the year.
“We will try to celebrate as best we can,” Clements said. “We will start setting some goals and start talking about next year.”
From a winter perspective, the Panthers men’s basketball team hopes to finish the season, and before Monday’s announcement, there is some hope.
Now that hope had evaporated, the ‘what if’ thought would last until winter.
“On the one hand, this is a bigger disappointment because we missed last year, and people have been shooting this for the whole year,” Kleis said. “We finally overcame the hump and then we had to wait. In some ways, I think that makes it more difficult. We like our position. We think we have a realistic chance to win everything.
“It hurts to know seniors come out in strange ways and they will never get a chance,” Kleis said. “There are lots of other kids all over the country who have experienced this, so that’s how it is.”
The Panthers have a record of 18-5 entering the state tournament, which was initially pushed back to mid-June in Rapid City.