After a successful run through the Division II ranks last season, the Missisquoi boys basketball team will look to continue on its success from last year, as it prepares for the start of the 2021 season.
The Thunderbirds will be returning a number of talented players from last year’s squad that should help them during this unconventional season coming up, as all sports teams are awaiting Governor Phil Scott to give the go-ahead for games to start up.
The team will be returning Gabe Unwin and Matt Curtis at the forward position and Patrick Walker and Caleb Johnston at the guard positions. Sean Power and Cole Boutah will also be key returning players for the Thunderbirds.
“Gabe and Matthew for our high school version of the Twin Towers and should give us rebounding and a strong post presence all season,” said second-year head coach Matt Walker. “Patrick Walker and Caleb Johnston will do the majority of the ball handling and playmaking. Sean Power is an outside sniper and our most consistent 3-point shooter with Cole Boutah bringing high energy and defensive presence.”
The returning players are coming off a season last year where they went 12-8 in the regular season and had a high-energy win in the first round of the playoffs with a last-second buzzer beater over Lyndon.
“The first-round game was very intense and exciting last year,” said Walker. “The crowd was tremendous and to win at the buzzer was an experience the boys will remember for a lifetime. Those moments show us why all the students, fans and families want the season to start.”
The Thunderbirds went into the quarterfinals against a very good U-32 team and held a one-point lead at the half, but ended up falling just short in the second half.
“The U-32 game showed the players the level of physicality and intensity it take to compete at the highest levels of Div. II,” said Walker. “U-32 was just a little stronger and faster, but our guys have hit the weight room during the offseason and are looking ready for this upcoming season.”
The team is using the delayed start as a way to try and shore up its game as much as possible before the season is given the green light to start the year.
“It’s a major positive that we were able to start the season,” said Walker. “Being with the team, building bonds with teammates and the shared experiences, these are what makes up the most important part of high school sports and often the start of lifelong friendships. So it’s good we are able to work toward a season.”