Senior Perspective: Power Forward’s Last Thoughts on Playing Cardinal Basketball

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Senior Perspective: Power Forward’s Last Thoughts on Playing Cardinal Basketball

Andrew Griffiths jumping to get ball at tip off.

Andrew Griffiths jumping to get ball at tip off.

Keith Koppenhaver

Andrew Griffiths jumping to get ball at tip off.

Keith Koppenhaver

Keith Koppenhaver

Andrew Griffiths jumping to get ball at tip off.

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“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” These words spoken by Dr. Suess meant a lot to me following my last home basketball game, Tuesday night. Even though the quote says not to cry, I still cried walking off the court for the last time.Not only crying because it was my last home game, but also because we upset one of the better teams in the league.

Going into the game, we were 15 point underdogs. Playing Panther Valley, best offense in the league 13-5 record vs our 9-11 record. They had a player who averaged 30 points per game and even had a game this season where he dropped 50.  Dawson Ibarra, our best defender missed half of the season with a sickness and he couldn’t guard this good kid from Panther Valley. We stuck our next best option in, Ryan Culbert, on him. After a terrible start we got the ball rolling. After a back and forth first half they hit a buzzer beater to close the half putting us down 36-28. Coach came in to the locker room flipping out and for a little bit we all thought this game was going to end badly. I mean, best player in the league in just the first half, their zone is killing us, nothing was going our way.

Coming out of the locker room and glancing up to look at the scoreboard all the crowd was cheering for us. From then on when the quarter started it was our game. We came out in a crazy man-zone defense that was predicated on double teaming their best players. The 3rd quarter was a battle in which we won. Starting the 4th quarter we were up 46-40. The next 6:45 seconds were nuts. We lit them up scoring 24 points and keeping them to just 8. With around 2 minutes to go I realized that Panther Valley was putting in their back ups and I knew the game was over. After playing a few possessions, I  had seen our subs sitting in front of the scoretable. I knew it was about to happen. That moment in a game when the starters come out and the recognition for their efforts are showered onto them. This time it was different. When the subs came in it would be my last time on that court. It was ending and I felt it.

After an intentional foul to stop the clock the subs came in. Everyone stood up and gave us seniors a stand ovation. I couldn’t help but let the tears flow because it was over. The cheering from everyone was louder than other times. It was also different. It felt special, it felt like it was all just so right. I knew it was coming but I had no clue it would be so bittersweet. I knew it would be sad but the feeling of that little 30 second period of walking off the court was just magical. I love the game and I love playing for Pine Grove Area. I left everything on the court that game and I couldn’t have dreamed my last game going any other way.

I’ve had a total of 91 games in my high school career. All 91 games I started, including 44 home games. After playing in front of the same family, friends and fans  44 times you obviously get a connection. I always looked forward to playing a home game because I always knew we had a good shot with our home court advantage. Playing for Pine Grove Area is something I will never forget and  will miss forever. That is what my last game to me was- bittersweet, to say the least.