After months of construction following the Nov. 30 earthquake, Colony High School's gym is back open to students.

Monday was the first day physical education classes could use the court following the 7.0 quake. Basketball players hit the hardwood that night for their first practice.

"For us it was nice not to load basketballs into a gym or drive to a different school or anything like that. It felt normal for the first day since tryouts," said boys head coach Tom Berg.

The boys' and girls' teams had been practicing at Palmer High and Teeland Middle School, while construction crews worked to repair major structural damage to the gym.

Having their gym out of commission also meant hitting the road for all of their games that were supposed to be played at home.

Sullivan Menard, a senior, said the team thrived through the challenges and went 19-2 on their away games.

"It's a good group, we're close together," Menard said. "All these problems, these distractions, all these barriers have built us together so it's bad for other teams because we're so close but it's good for us so we're happy."

The second level of the gym where the track is is still under construction but the coach said the building is safe for the students.

Colony will now have its home court advantage back for three of the teams' five remaining games, including senior night against Wasilla.

"Everyone is really accommodating but really you can't have a senior night anywhere other than home," Berg said.

Menard agreed the games will be better with their superfans in the stands.

"We spent four years here and now we can finally finish it here, finish it where it all started," he said.

Colony teams will play West Valley and Lathrop from Fairbanks next week; senior night against Wasilla is March 2.

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