Coming off of a state championship for the unified soccer team this fall, the Oyster River High School Unified Basketball team is hyped and ready for their upcoming season!
The unified basketball team is full of adrenaline and excitement as they practice and prepare for their first few games in the coming weeks. Players and partners are connecting and making new friendships as they engage in the game of basketball. The biggest goal for the team isn’t necessarily winning, but having fun and getting excited to play basketball together.
Last Tuesday, January 4th, the unified basketball team had their first practice. Some players described the practice as upbeat and exciting. As the team prepares for their first game, Coach Alex Satterfield explained that they have done “a few ice breaker games and get to know you activities. That gives similar topics and starts conversation which increases relationships and grows friendships.” From the team building activities to get to know each other, to shooting some basketballs, the unified basketball team is ready to play.
Going into their first game on Tuesday, the team has a lot of energy and excitement as they plan to take on the Dover Green Waves. Aislinn Doherty (‘22), who is a partner, joined the basketball team this year. She explained her biggest goal is, “building the team up, in a team spirit way, because it seems like a new environment for most of the players.” Doherty is excited to make the most of the basketball season after having such a successful soccer season. She is also looking forward to making new friends.
Satterfield also has some goals for the first game and start of the season. “[A goal is] seeing good ball facilitation between partners and getting the ball to everyone. I want everyone to experience playing basketball, since we have some players who’ve never played before and others who have played quite a bit.” As the team makes progress and moves through the season, the team’s skills will improve and they will continue to build confidence and work better together. This is one of the biggest goals, since as Satterfield stated, “it’s not just about being a competitive sport, it’s also about being an inclusive sport and [being] supportive of everyone on the team.”
Doherty explains that “for a lot of people the goal is of course to win the game and to start the season off strong, but I think it’s also important that we work a a team because it will set the tone for the rest of our season, even if we don’t do as well in the actual game.” This is a great mindset as the team moves through the beginning of their season, and hopefully win games together.
After winning the soccer state championship, Mitchell Warden (‘23) is optimistic about this upcoming basketball season. “I feel that we have a shot at winning the basketball championship as well. For the most part, I think everyone is feeling pretty good about our chances.” Warden, along with other players are excited to get out on the court and “shoot” their way through the season!
As the unified basketball team continues to practice and build confidence and comfort with one another, they will see improvements and more success. However, as Satterfield explained, “the goal isn’t all about winning, the goal is about working together and getting to know each other, and having fun.”
The unified basketball team will take on Dover at 3:15 on Tuesday, the 11th. You can stay up to date on the Unified Basketball team’s season by asking players or looking at the NHIAA unified basketball page under “Oyster River.”
– Photos by Madelyn Marthouse and Andy Lathrop