CULVER, MN. -- The return of high school sports inched closer Monday following the latest guidelines released by the MSHSL.
For the first time since March, the South Ridge basketball team returned to the hardwood, which also meant the return of the sound of basketballs hitting the floor.
"I've waited a long time to come into the gym so it's good to be back in here to put some work in," said Noah Sertich, a point guard on the team.
You could say that players are excited to be back.
"I love competition. Competition is my favorite thing. Not having a track season because of quarantine, I haven't got to compete in a long time so now I know that my teammates will make me better and I can make my teammates better as well," said Weston Stroschein, a shooting guard on the team.
Following last week's MSHSL announcement that indoor activities can resume, the Panthers can return to the court as one.
"They are kind of like family to me so it's kind of a big deal when we get to hangout and play together. It's definitely something special," added Sertich.
Although the Panthers are back in the gym, there are a lot of extra safety measures they are putting in place like hand sanitzier, two players to a hoop, and breaking the players up between the two gyms.
"We want to make sure we are dotting all over our I's and crossing all of our T's so we can be in here, and that the kids are safe and the coaches are safe and anybody else that is participating in our summer activities," said Phillip Peliska, head coach.
Ultimately, Peliska hopes this is just the start of what will be a busy summer of hoops for the team.
"We are looking to move forward and once the restrictions hopefully lift a little bit more, get back in the gyms, get back in other people's gyms, play some games, scrimmages, tournaments and kind of go from there," added Peliska.
Full team practices for the Panthers can begin Wednesday, and Inter-team games and scrimmages can begin July 1st.