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Seniors Escape Upset, Beat Faculty 51-50

by Alejandro Menendez

The senior team posing with the trophy after the game. Credit: SAC

As one of the most anticipated events this school year (especially for teachers),

the Senior vs. Faculty Basketball Game did not disappoint as the Seniors came away victorious 51-50.

The first half was nothing short of action with senior Joseph Wehbe starting the game off hot for his team. However, despite this effort, the “old school” play of the faculty allowed them to keep it close with swarming defense and a fight for rebounds that the seniors didn’t seem to have in them. At the end of the first half, the score was 25-25 and the crowd seemed to be zoned into what promised to be a great finish to this heated rivalry.

As the second half began, the seniors came out with a fire as varsity quarterback and Indiana commit Alberto Mendoza consistently hit layup after layup to give the seniors a 32-26 lead coming out of the half. However, this run was cut short by the tremendous play from Columbus soccer assistant coach Mr. Valdez and an and-1 layup from Mr. Garrigo. that put the faculty back even at 35.

Coming into the latter part of the second half, history teacher and basketball coach Mr. Landera and Wehbe began to exchange three-pointers as the tension seemed

to skyrocket in the gym.

Wehbe, putting the seniors on his back, had a stellar performance in this game, but in spite of his three-point barrage, the score was still knotted at 45 with around two minutes left in this thriller.

"Wehbe turned the court into his own personal was more than just a win; it was a statement," said Mr. Berch, business teacher and member of the faculty team.

With the game coming down to the wire, once again Mendoza stepped up to the

plate for his team and hit an impressive and-1 catching the faculty completely off

guard and putting the seniors up with 30 seconds left. However, Valdez was able to pull

one more rabbit out of his hat as he laced a pair of clutch free throws to tie the game

once more at 48.

With time running out, senior Julian Garcia drove down the court, weaving through three faculty defenders and hit a seemingly impossible layup as the whistle blew to

indicate an and-1. opportunity.

As Garcia makes his free throw, however, a technical foul is called on the senior team for rushing onto the court after the shot, and Mr. Landera was able to knock down both technical free throws putting the score at 51-50.

After solid defense from the seniors, the faculty team had one more chance to retake the lead. Coach Guest drove into the paint and drew a foul before the shot. He missed the first attempt and as the seniors grabbed the rebound, time expired.

With the seniors securing victory, the student body stormed the court.

Student Reaction

The students involved and the fans alike enjoyed the camaraderie and intensity of the game.

"It was a great experience coaching fellow students. We had some great performances from Joey Wehbe and Julian Garcia's game-winner iced the game," said senior coach and varsity player Angelo Miranda.

Senior player and University of Miami football commit Daylen Russell said the game was very fun.

Senior Andrei Otero, who was in the stands the whole game as a spectator, loves this tradition and wants it to continue.

"It was a really good game. Both sides did really well and I am glad everyone had a chance to play on both teams. When both sides were trading buckets at the end, it was really entertaining," Otero said.

The seniors did give credit to the faculty for making the game tougher than they thought it would be.

"The faculty played a lot better than I expected," Russell said.
"Mr. Valdez surprised me, I am not going to lie," Miranda added.

Otero chimed in on giving credit to the faculty.

"I was surprised how good both sides, especially the faculty were. I though it would be a low-scoring game but it was great. Plus the fact that so many students attended (was good)," Otero said.


Miranda noted that he felt the refereeing was one-sided. The game was officiated notably by English teacher Mr. Daniel Rodriguez, who officiates outside of Columbus, and Assistant Athletic Director Butch Staiano.

"I felt the refs were biased but we were still able to pull through," he said.

Another interesting comment was that there were disputes on substitutions among the senior team staff, consisting of varsity players Malik Abdullahi, Randy Smith and Miranda.

"One of the coaches almost sold making the wrong subs at the wrong time. I won't name names though," Russell said.

In recent years, the seniors have won this iconic annual game. Will next year be the time the faculty breakthrough?

"The juniors this year are warned. We're coming next year," Mr. Berch said.

Will the faculty win next year?

  • YES


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