Hopeful Boys Hoops Seniors: ‘We are the Best Team in the BL’

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Carolyn Montero

Jon Khazzaka (13) and Ryan Tomkalski talk during a basketball game last season. They are two of the Chiefs’ seniors who hope they get some sort of basketball season this winter.

Travis Bambino, Sports Reporter

WOODBURY — The CIAC boys basketball state tournament was canceled last year due to COVID-19. Everyone at Nonnewaug was ready for the game that night when the announcement came March 10.

This year, instead of just missing the playoffs, the basketball team is missing out on a whole season. All CIAC winter sports are on hold until at least Jan. 19 — which is also the day when Region 14 is scheduled to return to hybrid learning.

Senior Ryan Tomkalski has been on the basketball team for four years and thinks this season could be special if it happens.

“It’s disappointing seeing it’s my senior year,” Tomkalski said. “I hope we are able to get some games in as I believe we are the best team in the [Berkshire League].”

The basketball team has impacted many players, coaches, parents, teachers, and fans, but the seniors missing out on this season are the ones who have been impacted most.

“I think it made me who I am as an athlete and also a student because of how it pushed me to keep growing,” said Jon Khazzaka, a four-year basketball player and a three-sport athlete.

Khazzaka is disappointed that his senior season could be out the window, but he said the connections he has made over the years have shaped and changed him into who he is today.

Khazzaka also thought the team had a great shot in the BL tournament because Wamogo lost some of its best players to graduation.

“I think it was our year to win it all,” Khazzaka said. 

To many, basketball is just a sport, but to the players it is a lot more: It is a bond between teammates and coaches and the desire to win. Senior Cosmo Lovig was a big part of this bond and when he heard the news about the season, he was disappointed.

“I feel kind of numb to it because we have missed out on so much already,” said Loving, noting that COVID-19 has taken so much from many people, especially in the school community.

Senior Hunter Miller has also been on the basketball team all four years.

“I’m disappointed,” Miller said. “I was hoping to have a senior year to remember and enjoy, but things get cut short with COVID.”

All the seniors felt it was the year to win the BL tournament — the Chiefs would be at their strongest.