Van Buren finally hits the hardwood

Published: Dec. 28, 2021 at 1:15 PM EST
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VAN BUREN, Maine (WAGM) - Basketball practices began on November 22nd and the first games were scheduled for December 10th. While the majority of schools around the state have already held numerous practices and played several games. One County school has been on the sidelines waiting to get their season underway. The Van Buren schools went into the red model of remote learning before Thanksgiving and continued that way until December 23rd. No after school activities were permitted while the students were attending school from a distance. Finally on Thursday the student athletes who are members of the basketball teams got an early Christmas present they could return to the basketball court and begin practicing.

Renee Lapointe):”Very ready to get on the court and start playing. Even though I started playing last year I didn’t think I would fall in love with basketball as much as I did. I was really ready to get on the court.”

Brian Massey is beginning his first year as the girl’s coach. He and the girls realize they are about a month behind the other teams on their schedule.

(Brian Massey):” Very excited about just playing. We are going into the season trying to keep everything in perspective about what it is we want to do. I am going to stress the girls enjoy the game of basketball. It has been a while since they have been able to get on the court. None of them are discouraged by the fact we started late.”

Van Buren did not have enough numbers to field a girls soccer team in the fall and Athletic Director Matt Rossignol wanted to give the girls who wanted to play basketball an opportunity to play.

(Matt Rossignol):” I was more worried about my girls because they didn’t have a soccer season. Our numbers are not great particularly with our female population. We were worried about numbers, but it looks like we will between 7 and 10 for the boys and girls teams. The ones who are signed up right now are excited and we know they are going to have a productive season.”

Lapointe played soccer for the Madawaska/ Van Buren Cooperative team in the fall, and she is happy that she is able to wear Crusader colors this winter.

Lapointe:” As long as are going to have fun this season it counts.”

Both the boys and girls teams will be very busy. They are back in school on January 3rd and hit the ground running with their first games on the 6th and then it is full steam ahead.

Rossignol:” I was able to retain 17 of the 18 games. I lost one. Of course, you could have a COVID pause again. Weather delays and things of that nature. We are hopeful we are going to get 17 in. It’s not ideal we are going to have more games than practice sessions.”

Massey said he was never worried about girls deciding they didn’t want to play because he had good numbers for meetings that were held remotely.

Massey:” We try to do it two or three times a week. I always had all the girls show up for the zoom meetings. We would always talk the goals and new information that i had for them. I always judged it by that. If they were going to show up for my Zoom meetings if they got a chance to get on the basketball court, they were going to jump at it.”

The month of January will be a blur for players and coaches They will be spending a lot of time in game situations.

Massey:” Butterflies for everybody and we are going to take it one game as it comes. That is all we can do. All I can promise is they are going to learn from every practice and maybe learn more from every game of what we can do.”

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