FARMINGDALE — The Maine winter high school sports season is ending in the best way possible.

It’s not ending with debates about replay. It’s not ending with an adult having a Twitter war with a player over a trophy that’s voted on by adults. It’s not ending with parents throwing insults at referees.

No, the season is ending with Maine’s best addition in years: Unified basketball.

On Tuesday, Cony took on Hall-Dale/Richmond at the Penny Gym in the penultimate game of each team’s regular seasons. The Rams came away with a 76-41 win, but that wasn’t what the afternoon was about. Instead, it was about moments, several moments involving every player that made the game enjoyable.

It was the pregame celebration of Logan Dupont, Hall-Dale/Richmond’s lone senior, who is the first four-year member of the Unified program in school history. Dupont made the day worthwhile, too, putting on a performance the Harlem Globetrotters would love. He hammed it up with the crowd, dished off no-look passes and even made a referee laugh. In short, Dupont had fun.

“I love it,” Dupont said after the game. “I love the kids. I like hanging out with them. I like shooting around with them. It’s awesome, it’s a fun environment.”

“He exemplifies what a helper can be out on the court,” Hall-Dale/Richmond coach Bob Sinclair said. “Helping the other ballplayers shine, making sure that everybody has a moment where they do well in the game so they can have that feel-good moment. It takes a special person in that role and Logan exemplifies what we look for with the helpers on the team.”

For Cony, it was about the work under the basket of David Kidd — who led the Rams with 18 points — and Jamey Bishop, who added 10 points. It was about Marissa Parker, who found her shot midway through the first half and, 12 points later, left the floor as one of the team’s leading scorers. It was Gavynn Maske — the team’s tallest player — plucking rebounds with ease. It was partners, like Faith Leathers-Pouliot, lending kind words to players on the bench.

It’s the type of collective effort that helps drive Cony coach Brenda Weis.

“It’s the growth that I see amongst them,” Weis said. “We have kids that have never played before… Just teaching them the game, but most of all, just being on a team. These kids don’t always have a chance to be on a structured team.”

For Hall-Dale/Richmond, it was Savannah Strout doing her best Steph Curry or Sue Bird impersonation, draining two 3-pointers on the way to her team-leading 10 points, and the crowd response to each shot made. It was about a positive crowd, one that involved an excited student section for most of the first half.

But even more that that, it was passing of the ball to a kid who just missed a shot, giving them another opportunity to score. It was the chance for kids to compete and still be friendly. It was the definition of sportsmanship.

“It’s a terrific program,” Sinclair said. “I teach (at Hall-Dale) as well, so to have this type of a program that’s inclusive of the whole student body that brings out the school community and the community in itself to support students who don’t always have the opportunity to shine, it’s just real heartwarming. It’s a terrific feeling at the end of the day where both teams get out there and compete and play hard. But at the end of the day, the reward is just having everybody all have fun, find a level of success and have the whole community cheer on both teams.”

No, the winter sports season won’t end with a flurry of boos. It won’t end in social media hysteria. Nor will it end with constant demands on what should or shouldn’t be changed in a high school sport.

It will end with a round of applause. It will end with two teams of kids lined up after a game, congratulating one another. It will be high-fives, handshakes, hugs and smiles.

It’s how every sports season should end, always.


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