Mahoney Might Have A Decision To Make
By Christopher Tremblay
Matt Mahoney is a two-sport athlete at Norwood High School. The senior takes part on the football field as well as the basketball court for the Mustangs, and excels in both. He is hoping to take his athleticism to the next level following high school. However, he may have to make a decision about which sport he may play on the collegiate level once he graduates from Norwood.
“I have been reaching out to college basketball and football coaches and recently went on a recruitment visit to the University of Massachusetts at Amherst for football,” Mahoney said. “While I love playing both sports, if I happen to get offers for both, I think that I would have to choose basketball as my favorite sport.”
While a decision may not have to be made for a few months, Mahoney is gearing up for the upcoming basketball season, one in which the Mustangs are looking to get back to the State Championship. Two years ago, under Kristen McDonnell, the team opened the season on a 10-1 run with no recognition whatsoever. Norwood went on to finish at 18-2, but still no acknowledgement.
Mahoney and his teammates earned themselves a #7 seed in the Division 2 Tournament and then dispatched Fitchburg by 26, and Salem by 15, before taking down the number two seed Mansfield and Burlington enroute to the State Championship game.
“During the State Championship game, we played good, but our shots were just not falling,” Mahoney said. “Although we lost, the biggest takeaway from that game was that no one gave up despite the score.”
No one expected the Mustangs to have the type of season they left on the floor that year, outside of the players themselves.
“I had coached against him for two years prior to becoming the Norwood Coach last year,” Mustang Head Coach Chris Fraioli said. “We always had to game plan against him and now he is a much more mature individual the way that he carries himself. He’s calm, cool, and collective on the court and likes to get his teammates involved. We will be relying on him heavily this year for his leadership, experience, and basketball IQ.”
Mahoney was the youngest of four siblings, all who had played basketball, so he was around the court from a very young age. He found the competitiveness of the game to be something that he admired. Through the years, he has played on multiple AAU basketball teams, with the last being the Boston Bobcats, which he played for right up to high school during both the spring and fall seasons.
Mahoney was nervous trying out for the Mustangs, but he knew that if he just went out and played the game that he was used to his skill would show the type of player he is.
“I believed that I was capable of making a team, but to actually make the varsity team was a bonus as a freshman,” Mahoney said.
Being a little undersized, Mahoney found himself playing point-guard for Norwood. He was usually the sixth or seventh man off the bench that season depending on the matchup. Sitting on the bench, he realized he learned how to take a back seat and tried to change to game with his cheering and encouragement.
Getting ready to begin his third year as a starter and second year captain for Norwood, Coach Fraioli foresees his point guard and being an important key if the Mustangs are to be successful.
“Matt was a huge part of our Tri-Valley League Championship team from a year ago and he has definitely worked on getting stronger,” the Coach said. “Last year, he was our second leading scorer averaging about 15 points per game and was named to the TVL All-Star team. I expect he’ll be just as important this year.”
Being named a 2x captain is a huge honor for the senior.
“Being named a junior captain is something that usually doesn’t happened, so I want to be the best possible captain that I can be this year,” Mahoney said. “I want to be able to help the younger kids get better so that they can continue to have success at Norwood after we’re gone.”
Mahoney would like the team to have another successful campaign while capturing its third straight TVL Championship in addition to getting back to the State Tournament Finals, this year with a different result. Individually, he would like to accomplish eclipsing the 1000-point mark for the Mustangs.