I have got to be honest. This quarantine is killing me. For many reasons.

I love my three children — all under age 10 — dearly. But, after roughly six weeks of constant — and I do mean constant — interactions in close quarters, we are all pretty well up to speed with everything that has been going on with each other in that regard.

So, as luck would have it, I found three more youngsters to hang out with.

Well, sort of.

Enter local youth basketball players Maddox Lowell, Hayden Libby and Dale Libby, who, through it all, spend a great deal of time honing their court skills on a small street in Thomaston.

The trio most recently were part of the R&D Trash team, which won the Midcoast Youth Basketball League fifth- and sixth-grade boys basketball championship over the winter.

Coronavirus be damned, this trio of next-door neighbors continue to put in time on the court — well, we will call it the driveway/lopsided hill of grass — and hope to be future Oceanside High School basketball stars.

The other reason the quarantine is killing me, honestly, is I have not reported on an athletic event or game in, well, months.

The last actual official game I saw was in February, the Class A North semifinal boys basketball playoff game at the Augusta Civic Center between No. 2 Cony of Augusta and No. 3 Medomak Valley. And, well, my reporter muscles in that capacity have been becoming atrophy.

So, the four of us, the seasoned reporter and three Midcoast youngsters, got together on a Saturday afternoon, April 18 and fixed my problem.

I stopped in and, with the consent of their parents — and maintaining more than a six-foot distance with my 300 millimeter lens — I “covered” my first game in two months, a three-player game of “21.”

For the unfamiliar, the game is one-on-one-on-one, with the first player to reach 21 points being named the winner. A player cannot score exactly 13 points, nor can they have their shot tipped in by an opposing player, or that player’s score goes back to zero.

Missed shots must be “cleared” back to the top of the key — or wherever the players deem that area to be — and players are awarded two free throws for each made basket.

The game, honestly, was convoluted, as most pickup games with children can be. There was a little bickering about double-dribbles and things of that nature, which, as an observer, was definitely as debatable as it was laughable given the fact two of the three players had been wrestling on the ground for the ball minutes prior.

But, I digress.

Maddox, on his home court, took first outs, but it was Hayden who stormed out of the gate with a mid-range jumper and took a 3-0-0 lead after a pair of free throws. Maddox rallied to knot the score a few moments later with a jumper and two foul shots of his own.

Hayden collected a rebound that went well under the basket (no referee, no out of bounds) and went up 6-3-0 and added his seventh point on a jumper heavily contested by Maddox.

Later in the game, with the score 11-4-2 in favor of Hayden, Dale connected on a clutch basket leaning up against his house to net his third point of the game.

Maddox and Hayden, both 12 years old, had two years on the 10-year-old Dale, who more than made up for his lack of size and experience with extra grit and determination.

Hayden continued to net jumpers and seemed to be pulling away from Maddox and Dale as he took a 16-5-3 lead after a long shot from near Maddox’s porch and a follow-up foul shot.

The 4-foot 9-inch Maddox — perhaps a bit overconfident — looked to play his way back into the game with his patented two-handed overhead flip shot with his back to the basket, but Dale was there to clean up the uncontested rebound and momentarily pulled ahead of Maddox after two free throws, with Hayden ahead 16-6-5.

After Maddox got tipped back to zero by Hayden — putting Hayden up 17-6-0 — it was then that Maddox began down the comeback trail as he began to mount his comeback with a Euro step layup after being bottled up between Hayden and Dale on the baseline.

With the score 16-5-3, this time it was Hayden — an inch taller than Maddox at 4-10 — with a dash of overconfidence, shouting “Kobe!” as he put up a long jumper that missed its mark. But, he took a 17-5-3 lead moments later after putting home a rebound.

Maddox then continued to rally as he made his way back to the middle, as he rattled off five straight points to make the score 17-8-5.

The advantageous Dale — at 4-8 — wrestled the ball from one of his physically larger opponents off the ground and netted a field goal to give him six, but he was tipped back to zero moments later, making the score 17-8-0.

Maddox then got white hot from the field and the foul line as he shot his way back into the game — and then some — as he rattled off the game’s next 11 points and took a 19-17-0 advantage.

Maddox took a significant risk as he put up a shot from behind the backboard with Hayden in front of the rim awaiting a possible tip. Maddox missed the shot and Hayden cleaned up the rebound, though not a tip as his feet hit the ground — drama! — with Hayden trailing 19-18-1.

But Maddox put the game away moments later after he converted a basket — missed both free throws — but collected the long rebound and pumped in the game-winner with a shot near the foul line.

Was it unconventional? Sure. Entertaining? Absolutely. But my most telling takeaways were that young hoopsters are still finding a way to put in their work.

That, and the future of Oceanside basketball — at least based on what I observed on this side street in Thomaston — is bright.