The joy in the hearts and smiles on the faces of the student-athletes when they or teammates net the ball generates enough energy to light the gymnasium. Such is life for high school unified basketball, where fun, camaraderie, unparalleled sportsmanship and even dance are as common as passes, dribbling and shots.

With the traditional high school hoop campaign concluded, the unified basketball season has taken center court for four Midcoast squads.

Unified, in its purest sense, unifies Special Olympic Athletes and general student-athletes (partners) in 5-on-5 competition.

Medomak Valley’s Lizzi Swan, left, points the way to the hoop for Isaac Richardson. Photo by Holly Vanorse Spicer

A team must have three unified student-athletes and two unified student partners on the floor at all times, with each side allowed up to 22 individuals on their bench and should, if possible, include an equal number of athletes and partners.

In addition, unified athletes must score at least 75 percent of the game’s points.

Belfast’s James Salo (14) dribbles up the court, along with a slew of other players. Photo by Ken Waltz

Games consist of two 20-minute, running-time halves, with the clock stopped for foul shots, substitutions and in dead-ball situations in the final minute of each half. Overtimes, if warranted, are four minutes in length.

In sign of the times, from left, Mount View’s Mark Cooper (girls varsity coach), Taylor Stewart, Neavah Parlin and Laurel Huntsberger. Photo by Mark Haskell

The games, while focusing to an extent on the importance of winning and losing, have a lighthearted feel to them with participation trumping all else.

Some teams have become accustomed to halftime dance parties, with athletes, partners, coaches and even fans and officials joining the fun.

It is, in many ways, all that is right with high school sports.

Medomak Valley’s Cullin Booker, left, and Morse’s Levi Keller. Photo by Holly Vanorse Spicer

Each team has six to eight games on its schedules January to March, while the end-of-season festivals — with games being played throughout the day — take place for teams that choose to participate at a bevy of sites statewide March 14-22.

Medals will be provided to participants by Special Olympics Maine at the festivals.

Belfast’s Audra Faulkingham, right, encourages teammate Logan Sheafe to dribble. Photo by Ken Waltz

Locally, Medomak Valley, Belfast Area, Mount View and Camden Hills Regional High Schools all have unified basketball teams.

Official Chris Emery, left, slaps hands with Mount View’s Jeremy Moulton. Photo by Mark Haskell

Medomak Valley team members include Tyler McKay, Lizzi Swan, Grace White, Baylee Stewart, Annie Sedgwick, Hailey Campbell, Skylar Hills, Landen Stewart, Gavin White, Cullin Booker, Isaac Richardson, Connor Light, Kamden Doane, Marshall Addy and Johnathan Brann. The team is coached by Tracie McLain, Paul Smeltzer and Jason Stewart.

Belfast team members include Ethan Abbott, Jackie Batty, Ethan Davis, Izzy Degraff, Jordan Drinkwater, Audra Faulkingham, Gary Gale, Toby Jones, Gabe Kelley, Nina Potvin, James Salo, Brynne Sawyer, Logan Sheafe, Mykaila Willard, Shawn Williams and Thomas Young. The team is coached by Sara McIntire and Tina Young.

From left, Medomak Valley’s Gavin White, Lynsey Carr, Baylee Stewart and Skylar Hills dance. Photo by Holly Vanorse Spicer

Mount View team members include Julie Gray, Jeremy Moulton, Laurel Huntsberger, Samantha Cole, Neavah Parlin, Billy Bragdon, Brayden Bartlett, Emily Kendall, Logan Irvine, Taylor Stewart, Jordan Von Oesen and Donovan Queener. The team is coached by Vincent Vannah and Barb Dolloff.

Camden Hills team members include Emily Brown, Madison Marshall, Levi Thomas, Fisher Thomas, Faith Martin, Autumn Foster, Tom Roberts, Emma Deetjen, Sophia Ryan, Sam Brownawell, Kara Andrews, Bailey Curtis, Miranda Maxwell, Micah Mosheyev, Mae Dostie, Curtis Bibber and Inga Borchmann. The team is coached by Anastasia Alley.

The following is a recap of reported results for local teams:

Belfast 50, Mount View 44

At Thorndike March 15, the Lions outscored the Mustangs 26-18 in the second half and pulled away with a six-point win. Mount View led 26-24 at halftime.

Mount View’s Laurel Huntsberger. Photo by Ken Waltz

Jordan Drinkwater pumped in 28 points to lead Belfast, while Logan Sheafe added 10; Nina Potvin, six; James Salo, four; and Toby Jones, two.

Emily Kendall netted 12 points for Mount View, while Laurel Huntsberger added 10; Brayden Bartlett, eight; Neavah Parlin, Billy Bragdon and Julie Gray, four; and Jeremy Moulton, two.

Medomak Valley 62, Mount View 58

At Thorndike March 14, the Panthers prowled to a four-point win over the Mustangs. Medomak Valley led 32-30 at halftime.

Tyler McKay netted 24 points to lead Medomak Valley, while Isaac Richardson added 22; Cullin Booker, eight; Landen Stewart, six; and Hailey Campbell, two.

Lauren Huntsberger scored 16 points to pace Mount View, while Brayden Bartlett added 10; Julie Gray, eight; and Neavah Parlin, Billy Bragdon, Emily Kendall and Jeremy Moulton, six.

Medomak Valley 53, Camden Hills 44

At Rockport March 10, the Panthers overcame a first-half deficit and bested the Windjammers Camden Hills led 28-24 at halftime.

Tyler McKay led Medomak Valley with 21 points, while Isaac Richardson added 16; Cullin Booker, eight; Landen Steward, six; and Hailey Campbell, two.

Levi Thomas paced Camden Hills with 14 points, while Fisher Thomas added 10; Autumn Foster and Tom Roberts, six; and Emily Brown and Faith Martin, four.

Camden Hills 40, Mount View 38

At Thorndike March 8, the Windjammers erased an early deficit and narrowly sailed past the Mustangs. Mount View led 20-18 at halftime.

Camden Hills’ Emma Deetjen. Photo by Mark Haskell

For the Windjammers, Fisher Thomas led the way with 14 points, while Emily Brown added 10; Joshua Henning and Levi Thomas, six; and Madison Marshall, four.

Neavah Parlin and Laurel Huntsberger scored eight points for the Mustangs, while Billy Bragdon, Emily Kendall and Jeremy Moulton added six and Brayden Bartlett four.

Medomak Valley 56, Morse 56

At Waldoboro March 8, the Panthers and Shipbuilders battled for 40 minutes and ended in a stalemate. Medomak Valley led 31-25 at halftime.

Medomak Valley’s Marshall Addy, left, and Landen Stewart. Photo by Holly Vanorse Spicer

Isaac Richardson led the Panthers with 20 points, while Cullin Booker and Kamden Doane added 16 and Landen Stewart two.

For the Shipbuilders, Noah Kent scored 22 points, while Anthony Pelletier added 12; Elias Ware, 10; Zeke Walker, six; Case Jacobs, four; and Noah Thayer, two.

Hampden Academy 71, Mount View 52

At Hampden March 3, the Broncos erased a first-half deficit and defeated the Mustangs. Mount View led 35-20 at halftime.

Neavah Parlin netted 12 points for the ‘Stangs, while Billy Bragdon added 10; Brayden Bartlett, eight; Laurel Huntsberger, seven; Jeremy Moulton, six; Emily Kendall, five; and Julie Gray, four.

Noah Hawkins and Lauren Leonard scored 18 points for the Broncos, while Niya Hink added 12; Camden Valentine, 10; Selina Turgeon, six; Devin Twitchell, four; and Brett Belanger, three.

Mount View’s Taylor Stewart. Photo by Mark Haskell

Medomak Valley 57, Lincoln Academy 44

At Waldoboro March 3, the Panthers emerged with a 13-point win. Medomak Valley held a 32-16 halftime edge.

Isaac Richardson scored 16 points for the winners, while Kamden Doane added 14; Landen Stewart, 13; Cullin Booker, 12; and Hailey Campbell, two.

For Lincoln Academy, Lucy Himes scored 10 points, while Tianna Leeman and Ally Prior added eight; Harper Libby and Danny Couch, six; Tally Bass, four; and Mitchell Dusoe, two.

Medomak Valley’s Hailey Campbell. Photo by Holly Vanorse Spicer

Belfast 55, Medomak Valley 53

At Belfast March 1, the Lions roared to a two-point win over the Panthers. Medomak Valley held a 27-26 edge at halftime.

Belfast was led offensively by Logan Sheafe with 16 points, while Shawn Williams added 15; Jordan Drinkwater, 10; James Salo and Izzy Degraff, six; and Toby Jones, two.

For Medomak Valley, Kamden Doane pumped in 25 points, while Isaac Richardson added 10 and Hailey Campbell, Landen Stewart and Cullin Booker scored six.

Mount View’s Emily Kendall, left, and Billy Bragdon. Photo by Mark Haskell

Mount View 57, Dexter 54

At Dexter Feb. 28, the Mustangs emerged with a three-point win over the Tigers. Mount View held a 31-22 advantage at halftime.

Emily Kendall keyed Mount View with 14 points, while Jeremy Moulton added 10; Logan Irvine, nine; Julie Gray, eight; Brayden Bartlett and Billy Bragdon, six; and Neavah Parlin, four.

The names of scorers for Dexter were unavailable.

With the American flag as a backdrop, Mount View’s Billy Bragdon looks to shoot against Camden Hills on March 8 in high school unified basketball in Thorndike. Photo by Mark Haskell

Mount View 64, Hermon 56

At Thorndike Feb. 17, the Mustangs galloped past the Hawks. Mount View led 36-28 at halftime.

Laurel Huntsberger led the Mustangs with 24 points, while Jeremy Moulton added 18; Billy Bragdon, 10; Neavah Parlin and Brayden Bartlett, eight; Julie Gray, four; and Emily Kendall, two.

Vincent Burgos scored 25 points for the Hawks, while Isaac Smith tallied 10; Sarah Smart, eight; Zayne Scott and Reece Carroll, six; and Brody Quinn, two.

Camden Hills’ Fisher Thomas, left. Photo by Mark Haskell

Belfast 67, Mount View 58

At Belfast Feb. 15, the Lions prowled past the hard-working Mustangs.

Jordan Drinkwater led Belfast with 18 points, while Logan Sheafe added 12; Shawn Williams, 10; James Salo, seven; Ethan Davis and Toby Jones, six; and Nina Potvin and Izzy Degraff, four.

For Mount View, Laurel Huntsberger netted 16 points, while Brayden Bartlett tallied 12; Jeremy Moulton, 10; Neavah Parlin and Billy Bragdon, six; Julie Gray, four; and Emily Kendall and Jordan Von Oesen, two.

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