Boys Basketball Makes the Most of an Unconventional Season

Walpole boys varsity basketball had an important goal this season. After disappointing records in the previous two years, the team was in danger of losing its reputation as a tough and successful program. This year’s team set out to redeem their image and play better than they did last year – and through increased intensity and work ethic, both in games and at practice, they have accomplished that goal.

“We really wanted to make a statement in the Bay State Conference since there are no playoffs,” senior Brian Malone said.

The team made the most of the time they were allowed to play. Like every sports program this year, the basketball team had to deal with the many inconveniences of the pandemic.  Positive tests on their own team and an opposing team caused them to quarantine twice.  

“The team brings energy everyday to practice and games. With how life is going right now COVID related we have been able to stick together through the season and everyone has each other’s back 100 percent,” senior Haidar Farja said. 

The current 3-6 record is not reflective of the team’s energy, effort, talent and competitiveness, as Walpole has had many close, hard fought games that resulted in losses. Last Friday the team lost to Natick in overtime after some controversial calls that hurt Walpole. Another tough game for Walpole was against Wellesley. Walpole had a solid lead throughout the game, however the final score was 59-60

“We played so well through the entire game and let it slip at the end,” Malone said. 

Walpole started out the season strong with a 49-33 win over Milton. They also had a 17 point win over Natick. Last Sunday, the team had a 63-40 win over Weymouth. However, the Needham games are a true testament to Walpole’s work ethic. The first time they played the Rockets, Walpole lost by nearly thirty points. However, in just a few days when Walpole played them again they were able to narrow the score gap to less than ten points. 

“We were  a completely different team. We were much more composed and although we lost, we played hard until the buzzer went off,” Farja said. 

With three games left in the season, the team can further build upon their successes and reclaim their reputation as a Bay State basketball threat. Seniors Jack Connell, Charles Nicholas, Brian Malone, Haidar Farja, Gianluca Gonser and Pat and Neil Flynn will be leaving behind a stronger, more competitive program.

“We have all come such a long way from last season and the improvements as individuals and as a team show,” Farja said.