Students Battle Teachers in Championship

Pep Rally Concludes Senior Intramural Basketball Season in Style

Crowd On Their Feet: With time running low in the fourth quarter, Mr. Jackson Hinze hoists a three point field goal. “Having a crowd’s energy to feed off of made the game that much more fun to play,” Hinze said. The crowd played a large part in the swings of momentum throughout the game.

In similar fashion as the NBA, the intramural basketball season looked different this year. Since a multi-million dollar bubble was out of the question, intramural basketball sponsor, Mrs. Kari Bulgrin, and others in charge of the season, had to be creative with how to conduct it safely. They decided to hold three separate days of games, along with one day for the tournament in which every team was invited. Logistically speaking, even with the abbreviated season, the participation was limited to just seniors and teachers.
“It was awesome that we were able to get an intramural season together despite the crazy year we’ve had,” business instructor Mr. Gabriel Wurth said. “I know myself and the other teachers had a blast playing. The seniors really enjoyed it too and I think I speak for us all when I say we were grateful for the opportunity. Big shout out to Mrs. Bulgrin and everybody else who played a role in making this happen this year.”
As in years past, the teachers were in the tournament bracket, but after having parent-teacher conferences the day before the tournament, the teachers decided to drop out of the bracket. This left the bracket victors, the Suns, hungry to get the one win their championship run was missing, with the ideal atmosphere for the game being in front of their peers.
“I was very happy for sure,” senior Micah Bernal said. “It was cool seeing everyone have fun and watching basketball; it felt normal like we could be highschoolers and not have to worry about much. As a senior during this pandemic, you don’t get to experience these kinds of things, so it was a good change for sure.”
Following the championship victory for the Suns, the team was still not satisfied with missing out on the opportunity to play the teachers. This led senior Colton Stock to take matters into his own hands. His goals were clear; he wanted to establish an event that players, teachers and fans would remember. The game would have a crowd that wouldn’t leave their feet, music playing, the scoreboard tracking the ebbs and flows of the championship and would give the Suns their shot at the teachers. Stock went all in on his plan and made it happen.
“I first talked to Mrs. Bulgrin about it,” Stock said. “She loved the idea because, with us being seniors, we have missed out on a lot of stuff this year. So she’s like, ‘well I mean the ball is in your court’, so I formed a document listing all the procedures that we would go through, the technicalities, like how much time for students to come down, making sure with the teachers that they were okay, and then also finding a list of teachers available to cover for those playing in the game. From there, I just had to go ask Mr. [Todd] Mueller, and he actually really liked the idea.”
For some of the students, the pep rally meant as much to them as the intramural basketball game. Since GHS has resumed in-person learning for the 2020-2021 school year, there has yet to be a pep rally. This pep rally, open to all seniors, drew a large crowd. They arrived around 3:00 P.M., during AEP on March 9, to witness the two ten-minute halves of basketball and enjoy what is most likely their final chance at a pep rally while attending GHS.
“I was very excited when I first heard about it,” senior Phoebe Kester said. “Being able to sit in the gym with all my classmates and have fun is something we haven’t really gotten to do much this year and I was very glad we were able to have it and the seniors were able to participate.”
While a handful of seniors were at the game just for the experience, or to get out of class, there were plenty of students who were passionate about seeing who would be victorious in the highly-anticipated matchup. It pitted seniors Christopher Atkinson, Connor Bulgrin, Trevor Marshall, Gabe Melton, Colton Stock and Jacob Taylor against the teachers’ team, composed of Mr. Jason Felici, Mrs. Jennifer Flynn, Mr. Jackson Hinze, Mr. Chace Hutchison, Mr. Emmanuel Maldonaldo, Mr. Kyle Moore, Mrs. Megan Wentz and Mr. Wurth.
“Playing against the teachers in front of the whole senior class was really awesome,” Marshall said. “They were into the game and made it worthwhile. It gave us a lot of motivation to go out there and put on a show.”
A hot three of four start from behind the arc propelled the teachers to an early lead in the contest. Their lead did not last long, as the students promptly regained the advantage through the end of the first two quarters. After slightly edging past the teachers for the lead in the first half, the students’ defense soon found themselves without answers, specifically for the hot hand of Mrs. Flynn, who was Nebraska’s Miss Basketball and a two-time Gatorade Player of the Year. A multipossession deficit soon disappeared into a lead for the teachers, with the majority of the scoring coming from Mrs. Flynn’s nine points, all from three-point shot attempts. The barrage of successful deep shots paved the way for the eventual 30-22 victory for the teachers in the pep rally championship.
“The experience of just playing basketball again was such a good feeling, but definitely breathtaking,” physical education instructor Mrs. Flynn said. “Not only am I out of shape but wearing a mask made it really hard to keep up with the seniors. I was lucky that the rest of my teammates were in such good shape to run the show. My team was so good. I knew if Hines shot the ball, it was going in, so I had a lot of confidence in my teammates, which really helped.”
The current school year has been anything but normal, with obstacles never before faced, just as the pep rally game was something that the school had never done. In an attempt to give seniors one final pep rally, Stock worked in conjunction with the administration, specifically Mr. Matthew Curtis and Mr. Mueller, to provide the senior class with the chance to watch the students take on teachers in an intramural game that was wildly successful. The jaw-dropping performances of the players, the anticipation of the championship, and the diversity of which the game was presented all contributed to the monumental conclusion of the 2021 intramural basketball season.