CLINTON – One of the most overall successful travel basketball seasons in Clinton history came to an end last weekend with all four Clinton Youth Basketball teams reaching the Central Mass. Youth Basketball League (CMYBL) playoffs and one team taking a championship home.
The sixth-grade boys’ team, coached by Kate McNamara, Andy Nawrocki and John Boisoneau, defeated Harvard, 48-45, to win the Division 2 championship.
The CMBYL is the largest travel basketball organization in the area, with girls’ and boys’ divisions comprised of teams from Clinton, Nashoba, Oakmont, Fitchburg, Leominster, Lunenburg, Gardner, Hudson and Wachusett, among others. The league ran at a reduced level last year due to the pandemic and did not have formal playoffs.
For the first time ever, Clinton entered a girls’ team into the CMYBL. Coached by Clinton High junior varsity coach Jeff LeBlanc and Jay Laganelli, the sixth-grade team finished the regular season with an 8-2 record and defeated Gardner in round 1 of the playoffs before losing to Littleton, 26-20, in a semifinal.
The seventh-grade boys’ team, which two years ago was the undefeated Division 2 champion, moved up to Division 1 and finished 7-4. After defeating Hudson in round 1, the team lost, 44-41, to Wachusett in a semifinal. The team was coached by Brian Zancewicz and Tom Flanagan and assisted by Clinton Gaels varsity player Davis Lunn.
The eighth-grade boys earned the number 5 seed in the tournament and took a playoff loss against Lunenburg. Former Clinton High standouts Matt Champagne and Dan Thompson coached the team.
Travel play offered a unique development opportunity, according to CYB officials, who thanked the Clinton Public Schools and the janitorial staff for providing safe and clean gyms for all the young players.
“Travel was a nice supplement to our recreational programs,” said Tom Flanagan, CYB board member. “It’s a good opportunity for our kids to see where they are right now in comparison to teams and players they may see as the continue to play in middle school and high school.
“We were especially happy for the success of our girls’ program,” Flanagan added. “We’re working closely with the Clinton High School coaches and we’re all thoroughly invested in rebuilding the girls’ program at CHS and you really can’t do that without a solid feeder program that sends kids to the next levels of basketball with solid skills and a passion to get better.
“The entire travel season was a big success. We had some incredible volunteers and families that sacrificed to get their kids to practices and games. Our home games at CHS always brought a nice, energetic crowd and that helps in creating a fun experience for the kids. Every kid in our program, not at all surprisingly, was a typical Clinton athlete – just put their full hearts into every moment they had in the gym and it led to some on-court success.”