Etiwanda's Daisia Mitchell blocks a shot by Corona Centennial's Jayda Curry in a girls' playoff game on March 4.  The Etiwanda team had an excellent season.  (Contributed photo by Jerry Soifer)

The sports seasons had been moving along nicely for local athletes.

Basketball and soccer teams had won championships. Spring sports were under way, with many players looking forward to exciting and productive seasons.

And then it all came crashing to a halt.

Area schools closed down on March 13, abruptly stopping high school teams from enjoying their outdoor activities.

The shutdowns were met with immense sadness, particularly for seniors who had been seeking to leave their prep careers on a high note.

The Jurupa Hills baseball team had been in been in first place in the San Andreas League. The Kaiser and Summit baseball squads had been tied for the No. 1 spot in the Sunkist League standings. Several other teams were performing well in their respective sports.

Before the coronavirus threat exploded, the Summit and Etiwanda basketball teams had achieved league titles and had made impressive advancements in the state playoffs.

In fact, the Etiwanda boys' team had reached the Southern California Regional final, pushing Sierra Canyon (the No. 1-ranked team in the country) to the brink before losing a heartbreaker, 63-61, on March 10.

As it turned out, the Eagles would not have been able to play for the state championship even if they had won, because the CIF state finals -- scheduled for March 14 -- were cancelled.

And that's when the grim reality of a horrifying pandemic began to fully emerge.

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