|Kris Krablin (center) flanked by teammates (from left) Tina Quick, Barbara Cherecwich, June Walton, and Meghan Ladd.|
Veteran players score national hoop title
Kris Krablin and her teammates on a Massachusetts Miracles basketball team captured the gold at the recent National Senior Games in Houston, the culmination of a journey for the Stow resident that began as a high school player in a Trenton, N.J., suburb.
Competing in the 50-54 division at the three-on-three tournament, the 55-year-old Krablin wasn’t sure three weeks prior to the Senior Games whether she’d be playing after suffering an ankle sprain.
“I wound up playing with my ankle taped and wearing a brace, but thankfully they had trainers at the games,’’ said the 5-foot-9 Krablin, a member of the Athletic Hall of Fame at St. Lawrence University, where she starred in field hockey and women’s basketball and was team MVP every season in each sport.
The Miracles, who swept seven games in Houston, qualified for the national tournament by winning a regional competition in Delaware. The three-on-three format consists of 12-minute halves, and each possession starts at the top of the 3-point line.
“My role early on was to calm the team down and help them get the jitters out, but as it went on, I was able to play more aggressively and by the championship game, I was playing without pain,’’ said Krablin, whose late father, George, was a physical education professor at Trenton State College (now the College of New Jersey) and whose late mother, Betty, played high school field hockey and basketball in Pennsylvania.
“I wish they could have seen our team play in Houston,’’ said Krablin, a senior business analyst with the TJX Corp. in Westborough.
Because of her age, Krablin could have played at the next level but preferred to stay in the 50-54 bracket with her teammates, who first practiced together four months prior to the nationals.
After graduating from college in 1978, Krablin was a teacher-coach in North Carolina for two years. In 1986 she moved to Maynard to work for the Digital Equipment Corp., which sponsored a women’s recreational basketball league.
“Through that connection, I joined a group of players who played full court games in Concord on Sunday mornings and I’ve stayed with that for 10 years,’’ said Krablin, who also plays in a summer league at the Hudson Boys & Girls Club.
“I found about the Miracles,’’ whose primary practice site is at Regis College in Weston, “through an e-mail sent out by one of our Concord group members,’’ said Krablin, a versatile player who can play point guard or power forward and can drive or dish off a pass. “Playing three-on-three is a completely different mind-set, and it’s fast and exciting.’’
Their run to the title began with a 42-30 win over 2009 champion Maine Triple Threat, and ended with a 39-26 victory over the Colorado Long Shots.
“The games are held every two years,’’ said Krablin, “so we can just take a deep breath next year and prepare for 2013.’’
The Miracles organization, which has teams in two age brackets (50-54 and 55-plus), was formed in 2006 prior to the Massachusetts Senior Games, held annually in Springfield.
Its founders included Jane Mooney of Wellesley, currently the program’s coordinator, who originally competed on the younger 50s team. That group has since moved up to the 55-plus age bracket, and also competed in Houston, where they reached the medal round and finished seventh out of 18 teams.
Mooney’s teammates included Donna Cooper of Newton and Mary Young of Arlington. The Miracles expect to enter a 60-plus team in the next National Games, to be held in Cleveland in 2013, and are looking for players in all three age brackets.
Players approaching 50 are welcome even if they are not yet tournament eligible. Anyone interested should contact Mooney at email@example.com. Each state team is allowed one out-of-state player.
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Marvin Pave can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.