The joy in the hearts and the smiles on the faces of student-athletes when they or their teammates shoot the ball generate enough energy to light up the gymnasium. Such is life for unified high school basketball, where fun, camaraderie, unparalleled sportsmanship and even dancing are as common as passing, dribbling and shooting.
With the end of the traditional high school hoop campaign, the unified basketball season occupied center court for four Midcoast teams.
Unified, in its purest sense, unifies Special Olympics athletes and general student-athletes (partners) in a 5-on-5 competition.
A team must have three Unified Student-Athletes and two Unified Student Partners on the field at all times, with each team being allowed up to 22 people on its bench and should, if possible, include an equal number of athletes and partners.
Additionally, unified athletes must score at least 75% of the game’s points.
Matches consist of two 20-minute halves, with the clock stopped for foul shots, substitutions and dead-ball situations in the last minute of each half. Extra time, if justified, lasts four minutes.
The games, while to some extent focusing on the importance of winning and losing, have a lighthearted feel with participation overshadowing everything else.
Some teams have become accustomed to halftime dance parties, with athletes, partners, coaches and even fans and officials joining in the fun.
That is, in many ways, all that is fair with high school sports.
Each team has six to eight games on its schedule from January to March, while end-of-season festivals – with games played throughout the day – take place for teams that choose to participate in a multitude of sites in statewide March 14-22.
Medals will be provided to participants by Special Olympics Maine at festivals.
Locally, Medomak Valley, Belfast Area, Mount View and Camden Hills Regional High Schools all have unified basketball teams.
Medomak Valley team members include Lizzi Swan, Grace White, Baylee Stewart, Annie Sedgwick, Hailey Campbell, Skylar Hills, Landen Stewart, Gavin White, Cullin Booker, Isaac Richardson, Connor Light, Kamden Doane, Marshall Addy and Johnathan Bran. The team is coached by Tracie McLain, Paul Smeltzer and Jason Stewart.
Belfast team members include Ethan Abbott, Jackie Batty, Ethan Davis, Izzy Degraff, Jordan Drinkwater, Audra Faulkingham, Gary Gale, Toby Jones, Gabe Kelley, Nina Potvin, James Salo, Brynne Sawyer, Logan Sheafe, Mykaila Willard , Shawn Williams and Thomas Young. The team is coached by Sara McIntire and Tina Young.
Mount View team members include Julie Gray, Jeremy Moulton, Laurel Huntsberger, Samantha Cole, Neavah Parlin, Billy Bragdon, Brayden Bartlett, Emily Kendall, Logan Irvine, Taylor Stewart, Jordan Von Oesen and Donovan Queener. The team is coached by Vincent Vannah and Barb Dolloff.
Camden Hills team members include Emily Brown, Madison Marshall, Levi Thomas, Fisher Thomas, Faith Martin, Autumn Foster, Tom Roberts, Emma Deetjen, Sophia Ryan, Sam Brownawell, Kara Andrews, Bailey Curtis, Miranda Maxwell, Micah Mosheyev, Mae Dostie, Curtis Bibber and Inga Borchmann. The team is coached by Anastasia Alley.
Here is a summary of the reported results for local teams:
Camden Hills 40, View of Mount 38
At Thorndike on March 8, the Windjammers erased an early deficit and edged past the Mustangs. Mount View led 20-18 at halftime.
For the Windjammers, Fisher Thomas led the way with 14 points, while Emily Brown added 10; Six-year-old Joshua Henning and Levi Thomas; and Madison Marshall, four.
Neavah Parlin and Laurel Huntsberger scored eight points for the Mustangs, while Billy Bragdon, Emily Kendall and Jeremy Moulton added six and Brayden Bartlett four.
Medomak Valley 56, Morse 56
At Waldoboro on March 8, the Panthers and Shipbuilders battled for 40 minutes and ended in a stalemate. Medomak Valley led 31-25 at halftime.
Isaac Richardson led the Panthers with 20 points, while Cullin Booker and Kamden Doane added 16 and Landen Stewart two.
For the Shipbuilders, Noah Kent scored 22 points, while Anthony Pelletier added 12; Elias Ware, 10; Zeke Walker, six; Cas Jacobs, four; and Noah Thayer, two.
Hampden Academy 71, View of Mount 52
At Hampden on March 3, the Broncos erased a first-half deficit and beat the Mustangs. Mount View led 35-20 at halftime.
Neavah Parlin scored 12 points for the ‘Stangs, while Billy Bragdon added 10; Brayden Bartlett, eight; Laurel Huntsberger, seven; Jeremy Moulton, six; Emily Kendall, five; and Julie Gray, four.
Noah Hawkins and Lauren Leonard scored 18 points for the Broncos, while Niya Hink added 12; Camden Valentine, 10; Selina Turgeon, six; Devin Twitchell, four; and Brett Belanger, three.
Medomak Valley 57, Lincoln Academy 44
At Waldoboro on March 3, the Panthers came out on top with a 13-point win. Medomak Valley held a 32-16 advantage at halftime.
Isaac Richardson scored 16 points for the winners, while Kamden Doane added 14; Landen Stewart, 13; Cullin Booker, 12; and Hailey Campbell, two.
For Lincoln Academy, Lucy Himes scored 10 points, while Tianna Leeman and Ally Prior added eight; Harper Libby and Danny Couch, six; Tally Bass, four; and Mitchell Dusoe, two.
Belfast 55, Medomak Valley 53
In Belfast on March 1, the Lions picked up a two-point victory over the Panthers. Medomak Valley held a 27-26 advantage at halftime.
Belfast was led offensively by Logan Sheafe with 16 points, while Shawn Williams added 15; Jordan Drinkwater, 10; six-year-old James Salo and Izzy Degraff; and Toby Jones, two.
For Medomak Valley, Kamden Doane had 25 points, while Isaac Richardson added 10 and Hailey Campbell, Landen Stewart and Cullin Booker scored six.
Mount View 57, Dexter 54
At Dexter on Feb. 28, the Mustangs emerged with a three-point win over the Tigers. Mount View held a 31-22 advantage at halftime.
Emily Kendall scored Mount View with 14 points, while Jeremy Moulton added 10; Logan Irvine, nine; Julie Gray, eight; Brayden Bartlett and Billy Bragdon, six; and Neavah Parlin, four.
The names of Dexter’s goalscorers were not available.
View of Mount 64, Hermon 56
At Thorndike on Feb. 17, the Mustangs galloped past the Hawks. Mount View led 36-28 at halftime.
Laurel Huntsberger led the Mustangs with 24 points, while Jeremy Moulton added 18; Billy Bragdon, 10; Neavah Parlin and Brayden Bartlett, eight; Julie Gray, four; and Emily Kendall, two.
Vincent Burgos scored 25 points for the Hawks, while Isaac Smith had 10; Sarah Smart, eight; Zayne Scott and Reece Carroll, six; and Brody Quinn, two.
Belfast 67, Mount View 58
In Belfast on February 15, the Lions overtook the hard-working Mustangs.
Jordan Drinkwater led Belfast with 18 points, while Logan Sheafe added 12; Shawn Williams, 10; James Salo, seven; Ethan Davis and Toby Jones, six; and Nina Potvin and Izzy Degraff, four.
For Mount View, Laurel Huntsberger scored 16 points, while Brayden Bartlett had 12; Jeremy Moulton, 10 years old; Neavah Parlin and Billy Bragdon, six; Julie Gray, four; and Emily Kendall and Jordan Von Oesen, two.
MaineStay Media/VillageSoup sports staff can be reached by email at [email protected]
Region Acclaim, Indoor Track and Field Athletes Honored by KVAC