“Jared hit some big shots, especially that one big 3-pointer,” confided Steelman, a senior varsity Clipper point guard and all-league soccer player.
This was the last Special Olympics tournament for Steelman, who has been a unified partner in both soccer and hoops since he was a freshman, and he was excited to see such a big unified partner turnout for his final trip.
“This is my last tournament, so it’s a little sad,” admitted Steelman. “But it was a good tournament to end on. I had a lot of fun. Hopefully the underclassmen can carry the tradition on.”
Coaching along with Solazzo and husband Matt were alumni James Colburn, Mike Nardone and Cam Toye.
“It was a good time, we had a really good time,” said Colburn before yelling out; “And we lost every game!”
“It was actually better that we could play our games all in one day,” confided Toye. “Then we could just hang out.”
Newburyport started off against the Taunton Tigers in the first game of the tourney down 18-4 at the end of the first quarter. They were able to come back, 23-25 at the half but ended up losing, 30-25.
Dartmouth proved to be very tough in the second round, but Port still finished, 32-24.
“They were way out of our league,” Lori Solazzo said of Dartmouth. “They should’ve been in a higher division. But the kids got to play.”
Newburyport finished the day with a back-and-forth tilt against Heller’s Angels Cougars, 32-22, scoring their last 10 points in the last minute.
“We’re a young team and it showed early,” said Matt Solazzo. “But we kind of figured it out toward the end. We went to the hotel after the game. We ordered pizza, hung out and then went to a dance.”
“They represented Newburyport very well,” added Lori Solazzo.