Around the tail end of each sports season brings one of the most important and meaningful traditions Bishop’s has to offer: Senior Night. Both a game itself and a celebration of sorts, Senior Night gives teams a chance to celebrate the successes made during the season, particularly those made by graduating members of the team. Though celebrations vary from team to team, each Senior Night game emphasizes one thing: the importance of the seniors and the contributions they have made during the year.
The Varsity Boys’ Basketball team went all out for Senior Night this year. As spectators and fans entered the gym and took their seats, ready to watch, the seniors from the team all stood on the court. This year’s team boasts eight seniors—Zach White, Clarence Freeman, Kellen Hobson, Dash Tsai, James Roesser, RJ Faltinsky, Ryan Nagle, Chase Ladrido, and Austin Schroeder. They lined up against the right wall, standing among their family members. Player by player, each of the seniors were recognized, stepping forward to the center of the court, their families following.
From there, the families dispersed and the team began to prepare for the game. In the stands, spectators milled about, chatting with one another and watching the teams warming up, occasionally pausing wave one the giant cutouts of the seniors’ head many of them had. One cutout, in particular, was eye-catching, namely because it, in fact, was a cut out of Boss Baby’s head rather than one of the Bishop’s seniors. “I got a baby head because apparently Zach White looks like Boss Baby,” Jada Davis (‘21)—one of the spectators in charge of the head—explained with a laugh. “So when he scores, I’m gonna cheer and hold up the head,” added another spectator Angelina Robles (‘22).
In no time, the warmup period came to an end and the players took their places on the court. Bishop’s opponent—the Army and Navy Academy Warriors—donned all black, while the Knights wore white. The Knights’ starting lineup consisted of all seniors: Kellen, RJ, Ryan, Dash, and Zach.
If there’s one thing that you notice from watching basketball, even just for a little while, it’s how fast-paced the game is. The relatively small size of the court combined with the players’ speed and skill meant the ball was constantly in motion, bouncing back and forth across the court. By the end of the first quarter—only twelve minutes long—the score had already racked up to 13-23, with the Warriors in the lead. James, Zach, and Owen Hill (‘21), who subbed in halfway through the quarter, had all scored.
The second quarter went much the same as the first—fast-paced with the Warriors keeping a firm grip on their lead. Despite this, morale from Bishop’s fans remained high. “We are behind but we’re playing hard and we’re playing together,” said Head of School Mr. Ron Kim, who came out to watch part of the game. “Hopefully if we can keep at it we’ll make a big comeback.”
The quarter ended with the score as 26-38 with the Warriors still in the lead. Now half time, the players disappeared off into the locker rooms, no doubt to debrief and rest up before the game starts up again. In their absence, younger students swarmed the court to toss balls around and shoot some hoops. Older students and parents intermingled in the stands, some discussing the events of the first half. “The game’s been really exciting so far,” said Claire Nelson (‘20), a cut out of RJ’s head sitting in the stands next to her. “I love watching our team play and I hope they can come back and beat the Warriors in the second half.”
And, indeed, as the second half started, it seemed like that could very much be the case. Bishop’s started with Owen, Zach, Dash, RJ, and Ryan on the court and, within just a few minutes, their score started rising. Shots made by Owen, Ryan, and Kellen—who was later subbed in—brought the score up to 41-45; though the Warriors were still in the lead, the Knights were closer than ever to tying it up. A missed shot by a Warriors player closed off the quarter, sending Bishop’s fans and spectators into a frenzy of cheers and applause. “It’s exhilarating,” Annie Cramer (‘20) said just as the buzzer sounded, signifying the beginning of the fourth quarter. “The boys are putting in their hardest efforts because it’s Senior Night—and it shows. I literally can’t wait to see how this turns out.”
Not 30 seconds into the fourth quarter and Bishop’s fans found themselves erupting yet again, cheers echoing off the walls of the gym. After nearly a full game of fighting, Bishop’s had finally tied it up, 45-45. A layup following from Owen put Bishop’s two points in the lead. Tension and excitement mounted as the numbers on the clock ticked down—only five minutes left, and the score was tied again at 47-47. Three more minutes flew by and the score had reached 54-50, with Bishop’s in the lead. But the Warriors were not to be deterred: a few more seconds and they had taken the lead back, bringing the score up to 54-55. And, despite the best efforts of the Knights, there it would remain, the game ending in a win to Army and Navy Academy by just one point.
Though the night did end in defeat, moral and pride within the team still remained high. “I was proud of our effort and our togetherness and that showed as we fought our way back into the game and had a lead with under a minute to go,” said Coach Levine following the game. “I just love how much this group cares about each other and they all just want to help impact winning. We love our group of seniors and it was an emotional night.”