Good year for Malden Central’s girls and boys basketball teams

By Joel Charron

It has been a good year for Malden Marauders basketball.

The girls captured their sixth straight district title and finished second in the Windsor Essex County Athletic Association (WECAA) tournament, while the boys’ teams  grabbed second place in the district championship and picked up the WECAA championship in the finals.

Floor: Mackenzie Wright. Bottom Row: (L to R) Sam Gaudette, Hannah Bryan, Taylor Dupont, Taylor Wright, Sara Giles Top Row: (L to R) Carol Vandervecht (coach), Darby Rowland, Lauren Brindley, Madison Turner, Danielle Leroux, Sydney Emerson, Olivia Starling, Tim Dodds (coach) Missing: Jennifer Thorne (coach)

The girl’s team, coached by Carol Vandervecht and Tim Dodds finished the season with an overall record of 13-3. Both coaches said they were very proud of the girls and added that they have seen “significant improvement” throughout the season.

“Girls who couldn’t do a lay-up at the beginning of the season were doing them no problem at the end of the season,” said Vandervecht.

Dodds said the team did not have a single Grade 8 player in travel basketball. However, the team did boast that four Grade 7 players play travel ball.

He added that the girls who were experienced players really helped players with little or no experience.

Vandervecht said the district title was always the goal since the beginning of the season. Dodds added that the girls said they didn’t want to be the team that loses the district title.

“They really work hard because of that tradition,” said Dodds.

Vandervecht credited the dedication of the parents, saying that they put in “considerable time and effort” to drive players to practices, tournaments and games.

The boy’s team, coached by Drew Middleton, waited for the end of the season to showcase their paramount basketball skills.

Middleton said the boys finished the season with a .500 record but flipped the switch once playoffs started.

“When the playoffs came around, we sort of hit our stride and played a lot better,” said Middleton. “We’re really good defensively. We put a lot of pressure on other teams

Front Row: (L to R) Zach Bezaire, Eric Wismer, Ryan Wismer, Mitchell Wright, T.J. Laframboise Back Row: (L toR) Jarrod Manherz, Ryan Scott, Zack Riddell, Trent Kenney, Drew MIddleton (coach), Matt Bondy, Sam Girard, Dean Dibiase

and played really well.”

This year’s boys team featured only three Grade 8’s, eight Grade 7’s and one Grade 6 player.

Middleton said Malden trailed in the fourth quarter in many of their games, but the older players’ leadership and experience helped the team pull off the comebacks.

“That’s the leadership of our Grade 8 kids,” said Middleton. “They didn’t panic, they didn’t worry about it. They just stuck to what we do and stepped up and played really well.”

While Middleton said they will miss that kind of leadership next year, he added that the Grade 7’s who are moving up will have no problem fulfilling that role.

“We’ve got a lot of guys coming back next year. The Grade 7’s will step up and do well.”

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