On Friday night the Pope John Paul the Great community came in droves to the third annual Orange Out in honor of Sarah Jakielski. It was a tale of two halves for the Varsity Boys basketball team, whose late second half rally could not surmount the hole they had dug themselves into against Christ Chapel Academy.
The game started off quickly for the Wolves, jumping out to a 12-10 lead in the first quarter. The John Paul crowd was silent as they awaited the 13th point; an Orange Out tradition which entails staying silent to honor Sarah, who lost her battle with leukemia on December 13, 2011. Groans went through the crowd as a couple of easy opportunities for the point were squandered, but on the first field goal of the second quarter, bedlam ensued.
“The greatest teams always have the greatest fan base and JP has the greatest fan base!” said senior Pernell Adgei after the game.
Riding the now electric atmosphere of the John Paul student section, senior Mike Coyle drained a 3 pointer and the cheering from the packed gym drowned everything else. Behind other scoring from junior Eryn Crosby, and senior Cameron Kotwicki, the Wolves possessed a 27-17 lead at the halftime break.
The second half was an entirely different story for the Wolves. They were outscored 18-8 over the course of the 3rd quarter, and the 4th quarter began as a knotted, 35-35 game. It seemed nothing would fall for the Wolves in the 3rd, save for another 3 by Coyle and a field goal each by Crosby and senior Pernell Adgei.
An emphatic block by the Wolves at the end of the 3rd did not prove to be the momentum shift JP hoped it would be, and Christ Chapel continued their run early in the 4th quarter. With 4 minutes to go, the Wolves trailed 45-40, and the tide began to somewhat turn behind a long 3 by sophomore Chauncey Wallace.
With just under 3 minutes remaining, John Paul faced a 7 point hole. But while some were beginning to lose faith, the team had other ideas. The Wolves cut the deficit down to 51-48 behind two 3-pointers in the final two miuntes, one again from Wallace and another from Coyle.
However, 3 would be the closest the Wolves would get, as CCA pulled away in the final 21 seconds. John Paul fouled but could not come up with any more baskets, and the game finished with a final score of 53-48. Mike Coyle was the leading scorer for the Wolves with 18 points.
The Spirit of the Game
While the Wolves did not earn a victory on the court, the Orange Out was a success in its own unique way as both JV Boys and Varsity Girls won, and the Varsity Boys fought hard. It was an emotional night for the senior class, as Sarah was a member of the Class of 2014 and this was their last Orange Out as students. However, what the Orange Out did and what it will continue to do is bring together a community to celebrate the spirit of a girl who inspired so many. Win or lose, it was an amazing night of basketball.