Girls basketball: Team beat by Milpitas HS on senior night

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With flowers in their hands and family by their sides, the girls basketball seniors walked up the court one by one as friends in the stands cheered. The four seniors donned matching white shirts with a picture of the seniors cut out in the shape of a heart. While each senior stood in the middle of the court, coach Sara Borelli read out a speech which included their most memorable moments of the season and words of wisdom for the younger players. Senior Shivalika Chavan teared up, and senior Hannah Phan ran up to Borelli to hug her and give her flowers.

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Senior Rhea Rangarajan
“I’m definitely going to miss my teammates and the atmosphere. It’s very fun and there’s always something new happening. It never gets boring, and even though we work so hard, it doesn’t get tiring and I don’t have that feeling of ‘oh I wish the season was over.’ I continue to look forward to every practice and every game and my life is going to be very empty when I go to college because for 5 months of the year, I’m practicing at least 3 hours every day and it takes a toll on my body but honestly, it’s worth it.”
Photo by Shayon Moradi

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Senior Shivalika Chavan
“This was my last time playing an actual game on this court so it was really emotional for me. In the ceremony I started to tear up, so [the attitude]was just to leave everything out on the court.”
Photo by Shayon Moradi

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Senior Hannah Phan
“Playing [in my own senior night]was a little bit more nerve racking, because people had a lot more expectations for myself and the other seniors. There was a lot more energy because it was our overall last home game, but it was a very good experience.”
Photo by Shayon Moradi

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Senior Alysha Agarwal
“Even though they’re really really hard, [I’m going to miss] the practices, like the moments between our team. We get along really well and we vibe really well together.”
Photo by Shayon Moradi

 

Although the Matadors had lost to Milpitas HS earlier in the season, they believed MHS was a team they were capable of beating. But on senior night, they knew they would have to set aside emotions from the pregame ceremony.

“I knew it was going to be very emotional from past senior nights,” senior Rhea Rangarajan said. “And there was going to be a lot going on, everyone would have lots of energy and I just needed to keep up that energy throughout the game and make sure my emotions didn’t affect how I played.”

MVHS started off strong and scored the first points of the game with junior Joyce Chen making a 2-point shot.  Strong passing by MVHS and a couple of MHS turnovers, led the Matadors to a 12-9 lead with Chavan scoring eight points by the end of the first quarter.

MVHS got into foul trouble in the second quarter. MHS made eight trips to the free throw line, and scored eight points on free throws. But the Matadors kept up with MHS as Chen made a series of 2-pointers, and MVHS held onto to their lead to enter halftime with a score of 28-26.

After halftime, aggressive defense by the Matadors and calls by the refs favoring MHS allowed the momentum to swing towards the visiting team.

“They were super aggressive and they kept fouling. And it was really hard for us because the refs weren’t calling anything for us,” Rangarajan said. “And that made a lot of my teammates frustrated and myself included. But I guess we just had to push through it because things like this happen and there’s nothing you can do about it.”

The Matadors’ offense couldn’t make up for the MHS fouls. To account for their smaller size, the Matadors worked on a lot of 3-point shooting during practice. But during the game, despite many 3-point attempts, MVHS wasn’t able to hit from beyond the arc which allowed MHS to take a 34-43 lead by the end of the third quarter.

“I took a lot of three point attempts…and this was a game that I knew had to make a difference especially because the other team, the last time we played it, it didn’t go our way,” Rangarajan said. “And I know that we could beat this team. So I knew that maybe those few 3 pointers would make a huge difference. So that’s why I practiced a lot and took a lot of shots.”

But MVHS was unable to close the deficit created by MHS in the third quarter. The closest the Matadors came to catching up to MHS was at the beginning of the fourth quarter, when sophomore Jessica Ji made her first free throw to cut MHS’ lead to eight points. But the Matadors continued to foul MHS and were unsuccessful from 3-point range, and ended up losing 45-58 in their last home game of the season.

Although MVHS was unable to come up with the win on their senior night, the players walked away feeling proud of the effort their team put up during the game.

“[My expectations were] to play hard,” senior Alysha Agarwal said. “And I’m pretty sure we lived up to that because even though the refs weren’t calling things in our favor, I think our team played really really hard. So I’m proud of us.”

  

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Amanda is a senior at MVHS and a second year staff member. She is currently a sports editor, and previously served as a news editor.