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Grafton basketball starter helps lead team to successful season

By Douglas Maxwell Myer, Contributing Writer

Nonso Melifonwu (back row, far left #20) and the Grafton varsity basketball team. (Photo/submitted)

Grafton – As this year’s basketball season comes to a close at Grafton High School, senior Nonso Melifonwu finishes off his sports career as a strong leader for his teammates whose athleticism has highly contributed to the varsity organization. He was a starter for all 20 of his games, averaging 6.8 points per game and obtaining 12 rebounds a game.

Originally from Framingham, Nonso and his family had moved to Grafton in 2005. His early days of basketball consisted of playing the sport as a hobby with friends and taking part in recreational activities. It wasn’t until he watched his older siblings playing in their high school varsity games that Nonso was inspired to become an athlete for a school team. By the time he entered his freshman year at Grafton High School, he had tried out for the junior varsity program and was successfully brought on as a team player.

“What I love most about basketball is how fun it is and seeing the talent that each player can bring to a given team,” Nonso said.

Throughout his freshmen and sophomore years as a JV player, Nonso worked very hard with his teammates, learned much from his coach, and developed a greater passion for the sport. As a junior year, he was brought onto the varsity team where the athlete was truly able to demonstrate his great abilities.

“Nonso is a hard worker in practice and a leader on the floor,” Coach John Patraitis said. “He has been a pleasure to coach over the last four years and will be sorely missed next year.”

According to Patraitis, Nonso has intense speed while dribbling the ball and maneuvering around his opposing players. He never tenses with taking a shot and is very effective with defending against another team’s possession of the ball which has resulted in numerous rebounds.

Millbury High School is a noted Grafton rival. This season, Grafton was able to win both games against Millbury; in one, Nonso achieved his highest score of the season with 16 points. Grafton made it to district tournaments and also qualified for the Clark University High School Basketball Tournament which hadn’t happened for the team in many years.

Nonso was also a noted football player on Grafton’s Varsity team which he enjoyed playing for several seasons.

As of now, Nonso has no plans to play on any future teams, he said, but he does intend on playing basketball for fun to keep him in shape.

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