WEB EXCLUSIVE After a game filled with cheers and nail-biting moments from a crowd of over 400 Convent & Stuart Hall community members, the Stuart Hall Knights lost the 2018 CIF State Boys Basketball Championships 62 to 74, against Southern California’s View Park Knights.
“How a school or community handles a loss like this says a lot,” junior Sophie Mack said. “After the final buzzer our community didn’t just turn quiet but instead applauded the team even more, and I think that really shows the supportive, loving group we are.”
The 13-man team, coached by Stuart Hall’s athletic director Charles Johnson, Mark Perelman, Matt Durell and Richard Robinson, ended its season with an overall record of 23-12. Although it did not gain the title of State Champions, the team still reigns as 2018 NorCal Champions.
“We faced some challenges in the form of losses early in the season, but we’ve really come together as a team and have come a long way,” junior and forward on the team Spencer O’Brien-Steele said. “Buying into the words that our coaches gave us was a huge part of our success. Without them we wouldn’t have had the opportunity to be here.”
The team — made of three seniors, four juniors, four sophomores and two freshmen — spent nearly 15 hours a week on the court or watching films to prepare or reflect on games.
“It’s been a great season,” O’Brien-Steele said. “Everyone’s definitely disappointed it ended like this but we gave out heart today and thought the entire season. I think everyone is really proud of how far we’ve come this season —I know I am.”
Despite the loss, students kept the energy high as they exited the arena, dancing with and hollering for a street drummer just outside.
“Our school’s response shows how much fun it is to go to a game for each other, not just to win,” Student Life Director Devin Demartini Cooke said. “If students didn’t go to games already, maybe this experience showed them what it feels like to be a part of a community like ours.”
While the season may be over, today’s event will be remembered for years as the first time Stuart Hall had the opportunity to fight to be state champions, according to Mack.
“It’s really amazing how such a small community like ours has so much talent,” Mack said. “I don’t play basketball, but as I watched the team, I could tell the players have true skill.”
The team has not given up, and instead plans to use the loss as motivation for the next season, according to O’Brien-Steele.
“We will have a lot of returning players next year, and we’re excited for the next season to start,” O’Brien-Steele said. “We’re just looking forward to summer league, open gyms and the opening game. This game is fuel for next year and we’re gonna be back and even better next year.”