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Newport, Stevens showed unified display of sportsmanship

  • Newport coach Lisa Gilson celebrates with Ethan Trombley, number 4, after the final buzzer of their 43-32 win over Stevens Unified Basketball in Claremont, N.H., Monday, Jan. 27, 2020. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Madison Aldrich, of Newport Unified Basketball dances as the warm up music fills the gym at Stevens High School in Claremont, N.H., before a game with the Cardinals, Monday, Jan. 27, 2020. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • The Stevens High School student body follows the action under the basket as their Cardinals Unified Basketball team plays Newport in Claremont, N.H., Monday, Jan. 27, 2020. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Michelle Chambers, of Stevens, is covered by Ethan Trombley, of Newport during their Unified Basketball game in Claremont, N.H., Monday, Jan. 27, 2020. Newport won 43-32. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Valley News Correspondent
Published: 1/27/2020 10:08:18 PM
Modified: 1/27/2020 10:17:32 PM

CLAREMONT — A good time was had by all during the Stevens-Newport unified basketball game at Carr Gymnasium on Monday afternoon.

The Tigers won the game, 43-32, but the final score was down the list of what was most important in a game such as this.

While the players on both sides were nervous, the overall atmosphere was one of friendship, camaraderie and a big step up the growing ladder.

Perhaps Stevens athletic director Doug Beaupre put it best: “I love these unified games. You have partners, players and the crowd cheering for both teams. These young players out here yesterday can certainly teach the rest of us the importance of sportsmanship. Some of us need a wake-up call.

“There’s nothing wrong with cheering a good play even if it was made by an opposing team. These players on the unified teams do that. The last game, Stevens had members from both teams passing the ball to a youngster who hadn’t scored. When he did score, he received high-fives from both teams.”

With a 1 p.m. start, the game was played with all the Stevens students and faculty on hand, and it was treated like any other interscholastic event. There were player introductions, cheerleaders and the national anthem. The game was officiated with little regard for traveling, double-dribbling or three-second violations. No free throws were taken. The clock was stopped every four minutes to allow mass substitutions, as all athletes played equal minutes.

Mimi Rhines, a Stevens counselor who coaches the Cardinals’ unified team, smiled despite the fact that her team lost.

“The only thing that mattered was that everybody had a good time,” Rhines said.

She also noted that her the team was on the right development track. “Especially on defense,” she said.

Newport was coming off a big win over Fall Mountain, which had won its previous 31 games. All of which made Newport coach Lisa Gilson delighted.

“This has been such a good time working with these players,” she said. “And that win over Fall Mountain was something special.”

The NHIAA’s unified program puts student-athletes and special-needs students together on teams in multiple sports. Hanover High also supports a unified basketball team.

“The players were ecstatic,” said Newport’s Maddie Miller — who plays on the Tigers’ varsity girls basketball team and who also is a partner with the unified team — of the win over the Wildcats. “Gosh, were they happy.”

Stevens led 2-0 to start Monday’s game and never led again. The Cardinals trailed, 30-16, in the third quarter before cutting the gap to 32-26. A Newport 3-pointer in the fourth quarter gave control back to the Tigers.

Stevens is back in action against Fall Mountain on Thursday. Newport is off until hosting Keene on Monday.




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