After wearing a sling for six and a half weeks and hitting the gym with his father, Michael, to train his triceps, Shea Finnegan was back on the court for the start of his junior season. It was time for the redemption tour.
After missing an entire basketball season, Shea Finnegan shot his way into the spotlight a year later.
On January 8, 2019, Finnegan was a Blackstone Valley Tech sophomore, playing in the third game of the boys basketball season against Advanced Math and Science Academy (AMSA) in Marlborough. Finnegan was preparing for a breakout year with the Beavers, but a short while into the game, all that was crushed.
“I poked the ball away from a player and it was a 50/50 ball and as I went to dive on it, I got hit a little and that moved my entire body one way, but my arm stayed towards the ball and I fell straight on my hand while my elbow went inward,” recalled Finnegan, now a 6-foot-1, 162-pound senior guard.
He still got up and didn’t leave the court until three minutes later when a timeout was called, and he had to sit the rest of the game. Finnegan assumed it was just a sprain, but after the pain didn’t go away, he took a trip to the doctor and found out that he had a fractured elbow and his tricep was strained.
Not only was he unable to return to the Beavers next game, he had to sit out the rest of his sophomore year.
“The last thing you ever want to see is your child hurt, and when it’s a season ending injury, the sting is a little worse,” said Shea’s mother, Julie. “He told us the summer before junior year started that he had set some goals for himself. One of them was to help his team have a district playoff run and the other was a personal goal for himself: to be an all-star.”
After wearing a sling for six and a half weeks and hitting the gym with his father, Michael, to train his triceps, Finnegan was back on the court for the start of his junior season.
It was time for the redemption tour.
Finnegan left a dent on the hardwood all season long as he played in every game, scoring 475 points for an average of 19.8 points per game. He was a top-five scorer in Central Mass. and dropped in a total of 50 3-pointers. As a result, he did exactly what he told his parents he would do as he was named a Colonial Athletic League and Daily News All-Star.
But it didn’t stop there.
In the Division 4 Central tournament, Finnegan and company took on Notre Dame Academy first in the BVT boys basketball program’s first-ever district game. After a quiet opening half for Finnegan of eight points, the guard continued what he did all season long and splashed in seven 3-pointers to the tune of 27 total points in the second half, giving the Beavers a 73-45 quarterfinals victory. Next up was Main South in the Division 4 Central semifinals, and Finnegan did the reverse of a game before and exploded early with 25 points in the first half and 31 total in the 83-54 victory.
Finnegan’s back-to-back 30-point outings led BVT to its first-ever district finals game as it eventually fell to Hopedale in the Division 4 Central championships. However it finished, Finnegan did exactly what he said he would post-injury as he was named an All-Star and led Blackstone Valley Tech in a district run that went all the way to the final. After a comeback year like that, more is in store for Finnegan.
Before driving to the hoop, making assists, and dropping bombs from behind the arc for BVT, Finnegan first picked up the game of basketball in kindergarten. After falling in love with it, in the seventh grade he quit soccer and never considered anything other than the hardwood.
“He always had a ball in his hands,” his mother Julie said.
Shea’s father Michael kept the ball in his son’s hands often, as the Douglas residents would play at the Douglas Municipal Center courts and even at Tuck Field – an outdoor basketball court – in Hampton, N.H., where they used to have a condo.
The pair plays one-on-one still to this day, with the competition becoming a little different than years ago.
“He gets mad because now I can beat him,” said Shea, now 17.
“I can’t come close to staying with him. He is way too fast and athletic,” Michael said. “It’s all for fun and not a serious thing. I love spending time with him, love basketball, and love seeing what he can do now on the court.”
Finnegan and family are hoping there is more to come this winter, a continuation of the redemption arc.