By Kevin Stone, Contributing Writer
HUDSON – Like many teams across the region, the Hudson High School boys basketball team is looking to rekindle success from the winter of 2019 and 2020, this month, as they start their first full season since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
A sense of normalcy returns with a real schedule, actual league games, standings and eventually a postseason this year. After a 2020-2021 season with only 12 games spent playing in “pods,” the Hawks are looking to return to form.
Coach excited for new season
The 2019 squad finished 22-2 with an appearance in the Division III CMASS finals. Now in his ninth year at the helm of the Hudson program, head coach Mike Notaro is excited for what lies ahead.
“I was sophomore-heavy last season,” Notaro said in a recent phone interview. “When push comes to shove, I have to say last year went well because kids were out of the house playing. All the stipulations turned out to be a pain in the butt, but we got through it and I think the kids enjoyed having a season.”
“I firmly believe this season we’ll be very competitive in our league and kind of returning back to the level of play we expect to see from our guys,” he continued. “The kids are excited; they’re ready.”
Hawks enter 2021-2022 in realigned Mid-Wach League
The Hawks are still in the Mid-Wach League. But there’s been a bit of realignment heading into the 2021-2022 campaign. Hudson will be competing with Maynard, Littleton and Clinton. In the past, Hudson had to deal with Quabbin and Oakmont as well.
“We have a very competitive league, but we also know we can play with every single team,” Notaro said. “It’s just a little different flavor this year.”
Brady Stuart, Marcus Bass and John Antiqua-Rosado are the three senior captains leading the way in what Notaro and the program hopes is a resurgence for the program this year.
“I’m very excited for those three; they’ve all been with me since they were in eighth grade,” he said. “They’ve all worked really, really hard.”
“Last year was kind of a disappointment, not so much because we struggled, but watching them get frustrated at times and just the whole year was tough,” Notaro continued. “We just didn’t do as good as we thought we could have, so they’re excited to bounce back and sort of lead the way.
“They’re hungry this year,” he said of his captains.
‘People will get their money’s worth’
Sophomore Jackson O’Brien and freshman Jake Attaway are two of this year’s newcomers along with 11 juniors that Notaro will be relying heavily on.
“Jackson’s a starter for us as a sophomore,” Notaro said. “He started playing a little varsity in eighth grade in the second half of the year.”
“Jake obviously showed what type of athlete he is this past football season,” Notaro continued, referencing Attaway’s success as Hudson’s starting quarterback this fall.
“We’re very junior-heavy, but at the same time we’re very varsity-experienced,” he noted.
In a year where expectations are right back to where they were two years ago, Notaro said he expects that experience to be “really important.”
“These kids that I have right now, we went young three years ago and we sort of had to re-load,” he said. “Now, we’re heavy with juniors and seniors, the kids will have fans back in the stands, so we’re excited and looking forward to it.”
“People will get their money’s worth if they come and watch us this year,” Notaro said.