By Chris Wilson, Contributing Writer
Northborough – Following a 43-31 victory over Concord-Carlisle on Sunday, March 14, Northborough’s sixth grade boys basketball team took home the MetroWest Basketball League Division 3 championship.
Northborough reached the championship game with wins over Weston, Natick and Framingham, celebrating the victory as a triumphant bright spot in a difficult year of youth sports disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Pandemic posed challenges for team
Due to the pandemic, Northborough played an eight-game season instead of their usual 12-game slate.
Other rule changes included the elimination of jump balls at the start of games, as well as a six-foot social distancing requirement when the offensive team inbounded the ball. The league also required all players to wear masks during games.
Normally, Northborough would have two practices a week, but COVID limited the program to one 90-minute practice per week. The team also had to rent out the Shrewsbury Club fitness center for practice, as all neighboring schools remained closed because of the pandemic.
Head coach Steve Adriaansen said the biggest challenge of the season was teambuilding.
The one-practice-per-week schedule obviously hurt. But that wasn’t the only loss.
The team could not get together for pizza parties like they normally do during the basketball season, Adriaansen said.
It took time for the team to gel together as a result.
Team provided normalcy through COVID
As difficult as things were, Adriaansen recently told the Community Advocate that he felt this program had to continue running through the pandemic.
“We gave the kids a sense of normalcy in what’s [been] a pretty miserable time for a lot of these kids,” he said.
He went on to explain that these games and this league gave kids “something to look forward to.”
Some of the kids on the team have been sitting behind a computer screen on Zoom for the past 4-5 months without a way to interact with kids their age, Adriaansen noted.