Troy High boys basketball coach looks back on shortened season

By: Mark Vest | Online Only | Published April 13, 2020

 Troy High boys basketball coach Gary Fralick is pictured this past season. Fralick reflected on his team's premature end to the season

Troy High boys basketball coach Gary Fralick is pictured this past season. Fralick reflected on his team's premature end to the season

Photo by Patricia O'Blenes

The opening date of the boys basketball playoffs was March 9.

“The thought never really crossed my mind on that day of what was to come within three days,” Troy High coach Gary Fralick said.

What was to come was a decision by the Michigan High School Athletic Association March 12 to suspend postseason activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Eventually, both the winter and spring sports seasons were cancelled altogether.

Troy’s last game of the season was a 71-45 win against Utica Eisenhower in a Division 1 district semifinal March 11.

The Colts were scheduled to compete in a district final March 13 against Rochester Hills Stoney Creek, a team they had beaten twice during the regular season.

Troy was looking for a fourth consecutive district championship.

“We were in a little bit of a slump going into the district,” Fralick said. “I still felt we had a really good chance to beat them (Stoney Creek). … In my mind, I was counting on that happening and then being able to be host of the regionals. … We felt good. I felt we had a chance to get to the quarterfinals, and who knows from there.”

The group of players he had to work with could have made a long postseason run especially enjoyable for Fralick.

“One thing I told the kids time and time again (the) last two or three weeks of the year was, every day that I would come into practice, I wanted to be there,” he said. “I enjoyed being there; I wanted to stay extra long to help anybody who needed a little extra work. … I had a group of kids that when you went into practice, they were ready to go.”

From Fralick’s perspective, it was more than just the basketball season that was lost.

“You feel for your seniors because that was their last chance, and we were right there,” he said. “And then you feel for the spring sports people, too. You got a situation there where there were two or three of my seniors on my team that were (going to) play baseball or run track, and were really looking forward to it. So, things like that for them is sad because they’re missing not only spring sports, they’re missing graduation ceremonies, more than likely, and missing prom.”

Despite the negative that has come with the COVID-19 pandemic, Fralick has found some consolation in the change of lifestyle that has resulted.

“Life has slowed down, and it’s something different for me,” he said. “I do appreciate the fact that things are a little bit slower right now.”