Vets unified team hosts first match with Winman
Warwick Vets Junior High students took a break from class on Thursday morning and went to the gymnasium for a unified basketball game between students from Vets and Winman.
It was the Hurricanes first year participating in the sport, whereas the Warriors started last year. The games are usually held at 3:30 p.m., but the Winman coaches asked the Canes to host the game during the day instead.
"It's actually our home game today, but we gave it up because they have a bigger gym and we wanted to have a day game so that the student body could be involved," Winman head coach Christina DeGaetano explained.
Kristen Saunders, Winman's other head coach, agreed.
"We think it's such an amazing experience to have both teams come together," Saunders said. "We just had an amazing time and it's so beneficial for both students with disabilities and without."
The Warriors won the game by a final score of 42-33, but it seemed like everyone won at this event.
Warwick's Kaylee Collins, a partner for the Canes', was upbeat after the game.
"I had a blast," Collins said. "I think it's really great to teach the kids how to play in a team sport, so it was just a blast."
Collins would have liked to see Vets win, but she's just glad the
players had a good time.
"I think it's more about having fun and teaching the kids how to play the game," Collins said. "So, I would have liked to win, but I'm glad that Winman also won, because in my opinion, it's not about winning or losing."
The match was competitive as the Hurricanes stuck with the Warriors for the most part, but late in the game, Winman was able to pull away.
James Paul, a Vets' athlete, felt that Warwick came close to beating Winman while showing improvement since its last game.
"I thought if we could just swish it a few more times, we would win it, but honestly when you're going up and down the court, it's not easy," Paul said. "It was better than the last game with Park View."
The two schools are in the same division and they will try to make the day game a yearly event.
Last year, Winman had a day game at Scituate, and this season, Winman hopes to host the rematch.
"We try to have one or two day games a year because it's fun," DeGaetano said. "It brings in the whole community like a pep rally type of thing."
Warwick head coach Julie Peters was also thrilled with the way the affair turned out.
"I thought today went very well," Peters said. "The kids played great.
Everybody had a fun time - coaches, fans, and players. Just great to see everybody playing united, playing together, and having a good time."
Peters thinks playing a day game every year is a good idea too.
"This was the first year and I was really excited," Peters said. "It's a little nerve-racking, but it's a ton of fun. It really is. I coached before, but I've never had as much fun coaching as I have this year with this basketball team."
Aidan Lawton led Winman with eight points and Meaghan Dunphy followed with six. For Warwick, Kayla Vang scored a game-high ten points and Trevor Roberge added six.
One minute into the contest, Lawton scored a bucket and gave the Warriors a 2-0 lead. Then, Warwick's Lacey Hance dished to Briana Laprade for a short-range jumper and tied it at 2.
Next, Lawton answered with another bucket for Winman and then his teammate Vang buried a jumper and extended the Warriors edge to 6-2.
Vets came back to even the score at 6 when Paul and Tom Zou hit a pair of bank shots with 2:54 remaining in the first quarter.
Winman took a 16-12 lead early in the second quarter when Vang and Dunphy scored back-to-back buckets.
Then, Anthony Perry and Alesandro Roca each scored for the Canes' and tied it at 16.
The Warriors closed the first half on a 4-0 run, getting points from Vang and Logan Conca, which gave the Warriors a 20-16 lead heading into
The third quarter began with Perry and Conca trading baskets.
After that, Warwick's Laprade dished to Jezny Baez, who made a bucket and pulled the Hurricanes within two. Then, Vets tied the game at 22 when Baez made a breakaway layup.
Nonetheless, Winman would get some separation again.
Dunphy started with a bank shot and then Roberge made a layup, which
extended the Warriors' advantage to 26-22.
Then, with 1:08 remaining in the third quarter, Winman's Conca passed to Hayden Twitchell for a basket. Next, Roberge scored with a put back, which gave the Warriors an eight-point lead after three quarters.
Warwick cut the deficit to 36-32 when Zou dribbled down and made a jump
shot with 2:18 remaining in the fourth quarter.
However, Winman's Jack DeGaetano answered with a put back down the other end and gave the Warriors some buffer room. Then, Winman picked up some more insurance when Roberge scored after an offensive rebound and went up 40-32.
After Warwick's Roca made one of two from the charity stripe, Winman's
Twitchell passed inside to Isaac Vargas-Morales for the final basket of the game and made it 42-33.