Pictured last season against Westwood, senior point guard Evan Skeary (25) will serve as one of two Dover-Sherborn boys varsity basketball co-captains in 2020-2021. Photo by Mike Flanagan.
By Mike Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
Expectations have risen in recent years for Dover-Sherborn Regional High School varsity boys basketball. Two years removed from the program's first-ever Division III state championship, the Raiders enter 2020-2021 with several members of the state championship group still on their roster.
Unfortunately, the opportunity for the Raiders to compete for a state title will not exist, as the COVID-19 pandemic has forced all MIAA basketball teams to play a condensed 10-game, conference-only schedule with no state tournament. Along with the limited schedule, players will need to adjust to rule changes, such as wearing a mask at all times, no jump-balls and no inbounds plays from under the basket.
Even with all of the change, all of the uncertainties ahead and having to play a different brand of basketball than normal, the Raiders are viewing this season as an opportunity. Many high school winter athletes around the country are not even being given the chance to compete this winter. So, while there is not a state championship to play for, the opportunity to win basketball games and compete with your brothers is something that the DS boys are welcoming with open arms.
Leading the Raiders in 2020-2021 will be two senior co-captains in point guard Evan Skeary and small forward Nick Rinaldi.
"This year we have a league tournament instead of states, so one of our main goals is definitely to win that," said Skeary when asked about his team's general goals for the season. "It will be challenging since our league is very good, but I feel we have a very talented team that can get the job done. Besides that, our team wants to be able to play at our full potential right out of the gate, unlike last year where it took us until midway through the season to figure stuff out. As I mentioned earlier this year, we have an extremely talented team, so one of my personal goals as a senior is to push our younger guys and to prepare them for the upcoming years when I’ll be gone to give them more confidence and knowledge."
As far as the new rules, Skeary admits that he and his teammates will have their work cut out for them with the adjustment process. However, Skeary also says that he and his teammates have bought in, and that his coaches have gone above and beyond to get them prepared for the road ahead.
"I would definitely say the new rules are somewhat challenging to get used to, especially the masks, because it’s very hard to breathe," said Skeary. "We had our first scrimmage today and I could tell everyone wasn't used to the new rules, as the refs constant reminded us about them. Our coach, though, has reminded us constantly to not make excuses this year, especially with the new rules, so we just have to get used to them and play as close to how we normally would."
DS will begin its season on January 10 on the road at Norton at 2 p.m.
For funny and incisive sports analysis as well as video highlights of games, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter and Instagram handles @flano0.