Watertown improved to 9-3 on the season following last night's 50-38 win over Middlesex League foe Reading. But more importantly, it was a big milestone for long-time head coach Steve Harrington, who notched his 300th career win in his 20th season.
Harrington, a Wakefield native, now sits at a 300-145 overall record, with all the wins coming at Watertown. The Raiders have found much success in the last decade or so, making three MIAA Division 3 State Final appearances (2007, 2009, 2010), with titles in 2007 and 2009.
"It's just something I'm proud of, for the No. 1 fact that I've been in one spot up to now, it's all happened in Watertown," Harrington said. "I'm blessed to have such great players and great coaches that have coached with me, and it's all been done in a place that I really love, which is the town of Watertown. You get there [the milestone] because of your players, and also because of longevity.
"To be there for 20 years now, it surprises a lot of people. They say 'How long have you been there? 10-12 years?' I tell them 'No, 20', they're surprised by that. By staying there that long, to reach a mark like that as a program, I'm very proud of that."
The milestone is much a statement on his longevity as it is the unorthodox fashion he's done it in. As one of the smallest schools in the Middlesex League, which is top-heavy on Division 1 and 2 size schools, the Raiders have often had to do more with less.
Harrington's patented four-out system often relies on one post player cleaning up for a slew of shooters spaced along the perimeter, a style that made superstars out of greats like Bobby Murgo, Max Kerman, brothers Anthony and Marco Coppola, and twins Cory and Kyle Stockmal. But often, the Raiders were undersized -- in the state championship years of 2007 and 2009, for instance, Watertown's tallest player was 6-foot-3.
It's this method of strategy, making advantages out of disadvantages, that reinforces Harrington's regard as one of the state's best basketball minds.
"In Watertown, being a smaller school, you have to develop something to compete with the bigger schools in the [Middlesex] League," Harrington said. "We're not going to compete with traditional way, as far as having a point guard, shooting guard, small forward, power forward and center. We're gonna compete by playing differently, and ultimately that became the use of the three-point line, pressing and playing smaller against opponents."