KINGSTON — Tucker Bouchard is a highly respected leader on the varsity boys’ basketball team at Silver Lake Regional High. The senior guard has led the Patriot League in scoring the last two seasons, and he would like to take his game to the college level.
Bouchard, however, has not taken one class at Silver Lake the last four years. He will not say goodbye to any of his favorite teachers in June. And he will not walk with his senior teammates at graduation ceremonies or collect a diploma.
The lifelong Kingston resident is not a student at the high school.
“My mom taught me my whole life,” said Tucker, the fifth of six Bouchard children to be home schooled. “My parents, it was a big choice for them. They didn’t really like public school [and] my mom wants to spend more time with us. . . . She loves to be with us. She didn’t have to work at the time, so she liked being home with us.”
His younger brother, Tanner , a sophomore guard for the Lakers, and Zach Tonello , a fellow captain, are also homeschooled. The Silver Lake school district allows students who are educated at home to participate in athletic programs, a policy not all systems allow.
Susan Bouchard, a Silver Lake graduate (class of 1979), said she chose to homeschool her children for a variety of reasons, including allowing her kids to learn in a smaller environment and more easily intertwining the family’s Christian faith in their education.
At this point in their formal education, Tucker and Tanner Bouchard have supplanted the lessons from their mother with classes at Quincy College’s campus in Plymouth, so they are earning both high school and college credits while suiting up for Silver Lake Regional’s basketball and baseball teams.
“Everyone will go around and say, ‘Oh hey, home-schoolers. What’s up?’ ” Tanner said. “Everyone knows us as the homeschoolers.”
The chides, however, are made in jest, and the three players have never had any problems assimilating into the team environment, according to junior captain Josh O’Neill , thanks in part to playing with many of their current teammates in youth leagues.
The Bouchard boys and Tonello may not sit alongside their teammates in class, but as soon as the final bell rings and the Lakers hit the hardwood for practice, they are just guys on the team.
The Bouchards even hosted a team dinner Wednesday before Silver Lake’s Division 2 South first-round matchup against Sharon, in which the Lakers were eliminated with a 78-71 loss.
Tucker “and his brother might as well be in the school every day,” said first-year coach Sean Donovan , a social studies teacher at Silver Lake Regional.
“I have kids in class that know them, that grew up with them, that talk about them and go to the games to watch them.’’
He noted that the night Tucker scored his 1,000th career point, Feb. 1 against Whitman-Hanson Regional, “the place was packed. Kids were cheering for him.
“It doesn’t hurt that he’s a very good player, and a very, very nice kid.”
Recalling the milestone night for her son, Susan Bouchard said “it was so moving to see these kids that don’t go to school for them cheer for them that way . . . That night was very cool because there wasn’t a seat to be found in the place.”
Tucker and Tanner have a pedigree to live up to.
There are seven Bouchard siblings in all — older brothers Thomas , 26; Tyler , 23; and Toby , 20; and two sisters, Nicole, 30, and Natalie, 10. The only Bouchard not home-schooled, Natalie, attends Good Shepherd Christian Academy in Duxbury.
Their father, Thomas, helped lead the Silver Lake to basketball league titles in 1977 and 1978.
Roughly three decades later, Tyler and Toby set the family precedent for “the home-schoolers,” with Tyler donning a baseball uniform for two years, graduating in 2007.
Toby, a four-sport athlete at Silver Lake, is a freshman at Bridgewater State University, where he averaged 5.2 yards per carry for the 9-2 football squad last fall.
He and Tucker were varsity basketball teammates during the 2010-2011 season.
“To this day, he’s the best high school defender I’ve ever seen,” Tucker said of Toby.
At 6-feet-1, 170 pounds, Tucker is now the upperclassman paying forward with his 5-11, 160-pound sophomore brother.
Tanner “kind of came out of nowhere because he played JV last year,” Tucker said. “I’m really proud of him. . . Without him, we would not be in this tournament spot for sure.”
While Tucker (20.7 points per game) has been more prolific in his scoring, Tonello (averaging 18 points) and Tanner (13 points) ranked second and third, respectively, for Silver Lake, which finished the season 15-8.
Although Tucker has always been among the most talented of his peers — O’Neill said even in sixth grade, when players from Kingston, Halifax, and Plympton were teamed up for a single travel team, Tucker was the top player — he has seemingly taken his game to the next level, opening the door for a potential college career.
He is hoping to play at Saint Anselm, a Division 2 program in Manchester, N.H., though he may join his brother at Bridgewater State.
“I want to stay around here, ya know?” Tucker said. “I’m kind of a family guy.”
Notre Dame halts Oliver Ames
McKenna Cudgma powered the Notre Dame Academy girls to a 48-38 win over top-seeded Oliver Ames in the first round of the Division 2 South sectional with a game-high 26 points.
The Cougars from Hingham clamped down on the Easton school’s star, Caitlyn Abela , limiting the Sacred Heart-bound senior to 14 points, all in the first half.
Notre Dame coach Michael Barrett said tenacious defense stymied Abela’s game, and his players’ execution of the game plan helped at the other end.
“We pushed [the ball] inside hoping to open up the outside” for Cudgma, Barrett said.
Silveira, Murphy lead teams
Quintin Silveira picked a really, really good time to record the best performance of his career. Wareham High’s 6-foot-7 senior center delivered a 21-point, 14-rebound effort as the Vikings bounced Norwell, 78-57, in the first round of the Division 3 tourney. It also came on the heels of the Vikings dismissing senior Jeff Houde (violation of team rules) from the team.
Coach Kevin Brogioli said the team talked before the game about stepping up in times of need.
“Everyone is confident and there for each other,” Brogioli said. “Character kids often step up and Quintin’s a character kid.”Tim Healey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.