Pictured celebrating during last season's sectional quarterfinal win against Tech Boston, James McGowan (14) will serve as one of four Westwood High School varsity boys basketball co-captains in 2020-2021. Photo by Mike Flanagan.
By Mike Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
The Westwood High School varsity boys basketball team likely would have entered the 2020-2021 season as one of the favorites to win Division II South. A year removed from a 20-2 regular season and a run to the sectional semifinals, the Wolverines return a significant core of last year's team.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 has forced this season into a condensed TVL-only schedule, meaning all MIAA teams will play no non-conference games, no holiday tournaments and there will be no state tournament. The potential still remains, however, for there to be a miniature TVL-only postseason tournament.
Along with schedule changes, players will need to adjust to a plethora of rules changes, which include wearing a mask at all times, no jump-balls and no inbounds plays from under the basket. Even with the ultimate goal of winning a state championship now off the table, the Wolverines view this season as an opportunity. That opportunity is to add at least a little bit of normalcy to an abnormal time and help prepare the program for the future. Simply put, the Westwood boys look forward to competing alongside one another this winter and hope to win as many games as possible.
Leading Westwood High boys basketball in 2020-2021 will be four senior co-captains: guard James McGowan, forward Brad Nelson, center Connor Danieli and forward Mike Reardon.
"[We want to] win the TVL regular season championship," said McGowan when asked about his team's general goals for this season. "Then, we want to win whatever postseason tournament there is, if there is one at all. The main focus of this year is to keep the winning tradition going at Westwood. Seniors and captains are focusing on leaving their legacy at Westwood through the younger players."
As far as adjusting to the challenges ahead of playing during a worldwide pandemic, McGowan says and he his teammates are not worried about making the proper adjustments and that they are thankful for the opportunity to play basketball this winter.
"The biggest change is definitely wearing a mask, and we adapted to that by doing conditioning with a mask on during the weeks leading up to the season," said McGowan. "The other changes are pretty minor and haven’t had much of an impact on us thus far. Nobody is upset with the changes, either - we are all just grateful that we can have a season."
Westwood will open up their season on January 8 on the road at rival Medfield at 6:30 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.