Coaches Reflect With Gym Demolition Approaching
The final game ever in the Wilmington High School gym is slated for Tuesday night.
Tuesday’s girls basketball game has the potential to be an important one as Wilmington can clinch a postseason berth with a win against last place Wakefield. Regardless of the score, however, it’s a game that’ll go into the school’s history books.
The tilt will be the final game ever played in the current high school, as the gymnasium will be demolished next week when students are out of school for February vacation.
A fundraiser will be held after Tuesday’s game as teams can pay $10 per person to play one final scrimmage on the hardwood. Proceeds will go to fund banners for the new school.
Wilmington coaches reminisced in recent days about the action the building has seen since it opened several decades ago.
“I love this gym. There were so many good memories here,” said boys basketball coach Joe Maiella. “It’s exciting for the kids and exciting for the town to have a brand new gym being built.”
Maiella said some of his favorite memories were playoff games with close to 1,000 fans in attendance, winning a league championship with a victory over North Andover, and the magical moment when Kevin Mitchell scored his only high school point on Senior Night.
Like his fellow head coach, Lady Wildcats mentor Jay Keane said playoff performances and consistent crowds are what stood out to him during his coaching tenure. One game in particular Keane remembers was a playoff buzzer beater that helped his team advance on its road towards a Tsongas Center appearance.
Keane is among the coaches who believe that it’s a worthwhile trade off giving up a few years of home games for a sparkling new facility.
“It’s a sacrifice, but one we’re willing to make because it’s going to be worth it in the long run,” said Keane.
Wrestling coach Mike Pimental has been with the Wildcats for close to 20 years, and has seen his share of memorable meets take place on the mats of what he called a great home venue.
While his teams won’t be able to wrestle in their home gym for the next two years during construction, Pimental said it will be worth it in the end.
“It’ll be tough for the next two years to not have that opportunity to perform at home,” said Pimental. “But it’s going to be the great opportunity to move into a new building and start new memories.”