A Unifying Experience


Centered, Peishoff lets a three pointer go as he warms up for the Hillers game against Nipmuc on Tuesday, October 29. The Hillers earned their first ever win, and Peishoff had the game-clinching steal as the Hillers held on to a 67-66 victory. “We were up by a point and I knew we had to keep going,” said Peishoff. “That win meant a lot for me and I hope we can get another one next week against Holliston.”

When Bobby McGuire and Ryder Peishoff first began playing unified basketball in the fall of their junior year, they were already friendly with each other. They lived in the same neighborhood and crossed paths from time to time.

Eventually their relationship would grow into something more than just simple acquaintances.

“At first it was more of just a friendly relationship — pretty much just saying hello in the hallways and around the neighborhood,” said McGuire.

In fact, Peishoff was not the original reason why McGuire decided to join the team last fall.

“I’ve always enjoyed spending time with Liam Finnegan down on the Cape, and I knew he did unified track, so I assumed he was going to play on the basketball team as well so I was interested in joining. I wanted to be a part of something like that because I knew it would be fun for me while also being a special experience,” said McGuire.

But after playing together on the unified basketball team, their friendship got much stronger.

“I would say it’s very good,” Peishoff said. “We have a lot of fun hanging out together and a lot of conversation, and we both love basketball and Providence hockey.”

McGuire is also very pleased with how the friendship has blossomed.

“Unified has definitely strengthened it. We now have full-blown conversations, whether it be about Providence hockey, unified basketball, and sometimes even my girlfriend. Everything has just become more sincere and a much stronger bond.”

McGuire’s girlfriend, Caroline Connell, was on the unified track and field team in the spring alongside Peishoff.

Photo: Ryder Peishoff and Bobby McGuire
From left to right, Ryder Peishoff and Bobby McGuire pose for a picture following the unified basketball team’s game against Natick. The two neighbors are in their second and final season of unified basketball. “It’s fun,” Peishoff said. “I love having my teammates cheer me on.”

Both Peishoff and McGuire have an older sibling currently attending Providence College, and the boys bonded over the hockey team’s run to the Frozen Four, meaning the Friars were one of four remaining teams competing to win a national championship last season.

While this year’s unified team might not have too many wins, the season has been about so much more than the results of the games, and McGuire has been very encouraged by what he has seen from Peishoff this season.

“I felt like he’s definitely taken a step back where he didn’t want to be controlling the shots the entire game, but now he’s kind of reached a happy medium where he’s sharing the ball but also getting his shots and working much harder.”

Peishoff is known for his serious demeanor when it’s gametime, but he still enjoys the moment.

“It’s fun,” Peishoff said. “I love having my teammates cheer me on.”

However, in a home game vs Nipmuc on October 29, the Hillers earned their first-ever win in two seasons of unified basketball.

Sparked by a Max McNamara streak of four 3-pointers late in the second half, and some big shots from Liam Finnegan, the Hillers were able to pull within one with about four minutes to play in the second half. And with the Hillers remaining down one, eighth-grader Jack Malone drilled a big shot to put the Hillers in front. As Nipmuc came down the court, Peishoff picked off a pass to seal the win for the Hillers, 67-66.

“We were up by a point and I knew we had to keep going,” said Peishoff. “That win meant a lot for me and I hope we can get another one next week against Holliston.”

McGuire was one of many screaming and shouting as Peishoff intercepted the pass to clinch the victory for the Hillers.

“I thought it was a little bit of a coming full circle,” McGuire said when asked about Peishoff’s steal. “This was one of the final home games of Ryder’s unified basketball career, and he’s grown from being one of the most dominant players on the court to kind of backing off and letting his other teams score points.”

In addition to unified basketball, Peishoff will return to the unified track and field team this spring for his third season.

McGuire is secretary for the Class of 2020 and also plays varsity baseball.

Peishoff and McGuire, along with the team’s eight other seniors, will play in their final regular-season game at home against Holliston on Wednesday, November 6.