WEYMOUTH, Mass. -- The back of each Weymouth basketball player’s warm-up shirts reads a short, but meaningful philosophy that the Wildcats program has developed under coach Jim Dolan.
“Family” is emblazoned on each shirt, and it became evident last night that his players -- present and past -- have bought in on that theme. The gym at Weymouth was filled with a raucous crowd on Friday night, many of the people on hand were former players of Dolan’s.
The current crop of Wildcats rallied around the idea of family, making sure to deliver the patriarch of their clan his 100th coaching win, besting Bay State Conference foe Framingham, 48-38, for the milestone victory.
“One hundred wins just means I’ve been here for a while with good people,” Dolan. “To be honest, I’m kind of embarrassed right now to have a big deal made about me, because we’re so team oriented. I have great assistants (Mike Marre, Johnathan Norris and Nate Farrar), I have great kids, great support from the school and parents.
"This place was absolutely rocking tonight. Seeing all those guys coming back means the most to me. That’s how we do things. We preach family around here. The former players and coaches here is what we’re all about, that was pretty special.”
Considering the impact Dolan has on his guy’s while they don a Weymouth uniform, it’s no wonder so many turned out to see win No. 100.
“He puts his heart and soul into this program,” said Norris, a 2008 graduate of Weymouth. “That’s just the type of guy he is. That’s why we have family on the back of the shirts. Basketball was my second sport as a player, but he made into the man that I am. I wanted to come back and give back to this program because of what he gave me.
"He was like a father figure to me. Every kid that leaves this program can probably say the same thing, that he’s like a father here on the court.”
That message meant more to Dolan than any of his wins, or even hitting the century mark.
“That’s pretty cool to hear stuff like that, and to see all these former guys come out,” Dolan said. “My family is so supportive of all this, my mother, my father, my wife and kids, I’m just blessed.”
Dolan also counts himself lucky to even be manning the sidelines at Weymouth, where he also coaches baseball. An alum of the school, he took up jobs as an assistant at UMass-Boston and Bridgewater State, sprinkled in a year at Hull High School and drew up plays as the lead man at the Winchendon School before returning to where it all started.
“It’s been a long journey but I couldn’t be happier to be here,” Dolan said. This is a dream job. I’m coaching where I got to play, and I get to coach great kids.”
Those kids ensured the Wildcats would knock off Framingham by seemingly getting better as the game wore on. Framingham jumped out to a 17-16 lead after one, but were held to just 21 more points the rest of the way -- including just six in the second quarter and only three in the third.
“We knew that defense was going to win this game,” said Dolan. “We played very well defensively. We played a lot more man we have this year and the kids just did a great job identifying their shooters.”
On the other side of the floor, the Wildcats used a pretty balanced attack to pile up points, with junior big man Noah Fleury leading the charge. He finished with a game-high 16 points, pairing that with 10 rebounds (five of which were offensive) in a game Weymouth was even more fueled than usual to win.
“My brothers and my father used to tell me, ‘every time you step on that basketball court, go hard no matter what you do,’” said Fleury. “We had even more reason with this occasion for coach Dolan. It was a great thing.”
Ryan Jones added 11 points, six rebounds and four assists, David Harrison had eight points, seven rebounds and four steals and Steven Karlberg chipped in six points and seven rebounds to help seal the win.
Sebastian Joubert was the biggest thorn in the side of Weymouth’s efforts, tallying 14 points -- 12 from beyond the arc -- for the Flyers. Nigel Browne added seven points and five rebounds, while Drew Siglinger chipped in five points and 11 rebounds in the loss.