Boys' Basketball earns #4 seed for Class AA playoffs
The Wilbraham & Monson Academy Boys’ Basketball team is headed to the tournament, with the key word being “team.”
Behind a balanced and unselfish effort throughout the regular season, the Titans earned the #4 seed for the New England Prep School Athletic Council Class AA playoffs. WMA will host fifth-seeded Kimball Union Academy of Meriden, New Hampshire, Wednesday in a quarterfinal at Greenhalgh Gymnasium at 4:30 p.m.
The semifinals and final will be played Saturday and Sunday.
WMA’s strength of schedule played a big role in regard to the team earning the fourth spot in the eight-team field. The Titans beat #2 Worcester Academy twice, as well as Kimball and #8 Bradford Christian Academy of Haverhill, Massachusetts, during the regular season. WMA split with #6 Winchendon School of Massachusetts and seventh-seeded Cheshire Academy of Connecticut.
Coach Mike Mannix regarding the team making the tournament: “I think this year’s team epitomizes team play. We’ve had several guys score in double figures; different guys lead us in rebounding, different lead us in assists. I’ve really enjoyed coaching this year’s team because it was a team effort. We’ve had a couple guys stand out statistically, but I think of guys playing different roles and some guys stepping up in certain games when other guys were struggling. We did a great job of that. It’s been a fun team to coach and a fun season.”
Coach Mannix regarding this year’s four postgraduates: This group of postgraduates are special, in terms of them coming in and adapting to a new school, being on a new team, coming from other schools where they were the leaders of their team, and coming here and being really unselfish and team-first kids. I thought that was cool and special.”
Coach Mannix regarding having a home playoff game: We haven’t had a home game since March of 2014, and ironically it was against Kimball Union. It’s cool for the community. To be honest, I picked my phone up (Sunday after the seeds were announced) after our team meeting and to see all the congratulatory texts I had from people in the school, which was really neat. That’s when you’re reminded in our culture sports can rally people together like nothing else. And especially in a school culture, sports is uniting, and I don’t think anything else offers that up like sports does.”
John Adams ’20 on the strength of the team: “Some of our strengths are our size and our ability to finish in the paint. Our field goal percentage in the paint with guards and bigs is very high and consistent. Also, once we get the ball in the paint, kicking the ball out to the 3-point line is when Keller (Boothby ’20), Cinque (Stephens ’20) and some of the other guys start getting hot. That inside-out game is lethal.”
John regarding the team having a home game: “I’m so proud of all the guys for fighting every single day in practice, through all the struggles and through all the injuries, and fighting for the fourth seed. My dream was just to play a playoff game in general. When I heard we got the fourth seed and were able to have a home game, and all of our fans the community can be at the game is very exciting and I can’t wait.”