Following an overwhelming 66-35 win for the Bears from the night before at Woodside, the boys’ basketball team showed up once again on Saturday afternoon in a thrilling game against Christopher, ending in a 55-42 triumph for the Bears.
The game started off on a strong, yet tense, note, with the Bears trailing by a score of 9-10 by the end of the first quarter. Even from the start, it seemed as though the main focus was on defense. Head Coach Mike Molieri yelled, “Open up and pinch in,” advising players to put even more pressure on the other team.
Going into the second quarter, defense became the priority and allowed M-A to take the lead and cause a momentum shift. However, senior Jalen Williams fouled and his absence led to concern within the team. At the end of the half, the score was 29-22 in favor of M-A.
After an exhilarating halftime performance consisting of a young fan shooting shots with a miniature ball and barely missing one, the teams returned to the court for the second half.
Shortly into the second half of the game, passionate hecklers, especially one invested Bears supporter, seemed to change the game. One repeatedly shouted “Go back to Hogwarts, Ronald” to add pressure to one Christopher player during his foul shot. While not the kindest method, it was effective in throwing the player off his game and causing him to miss some shots.
However, the game completely shifted towards the end of the third quarter. With only 40 seconds left, senior Meka Okereke made a shot and senior Grant Zell helped the ball into the net, though it seemed unnecessary. Then, with the momentum high and only one second left in the quarter, senior Allen Chang stole the ball and converted a layup, giving the Bears the clear advantage.
To start the fourth quarter, junior Jonah Missan made a shot, which furthered the momentum even more. Shortly after, junior Jack Anderson swooped in with a point of his own. The Bears’ scoring flurry was capped off by Williams finishing a layup with a foul and then knocking down a triple on the next possession.
With frustration and desperation, Christopher fans pleaded, “Take 12 out!”
After the game, players recalled their favorite moments. Senior Ben Eisner said, “My favorite moment of the game was definitely the alley-oop to Meka, it was crazy. He got up so high—I did not know he could get up that high.” It seemed to be the consensus among players that that was a very memorable moment.
Other teammates reflected on the strengths and team effort shown throughout the game. Williams said, “Something we did well today was defense. We were flying all over the place playing help defense.”
Eisner agreed, “I think our defense is getting a lot better and our friendship off the court is getting a lot better too.” He also added, “Our team’s all about having energy off the bench.”
Senior Johno Price commented as well, saying, “Something we did really well was attack the basket and trust the brother next to us to make a play or get a rebound.”
Finally, Williams gave a shout-out to his friend, Johno, and said, “Being with him on the court is unmatched.”
Williams’ sentiment truly reflects the M-A spirit. Win or lose, the family that sports can create is the reason that these players push towards improvement and are motivated to keep going. Based on the wins from this past weekend, it has clearly paid off.