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The Student News Site of Rock Ridge High School


The Student News Site of Rock Ridge High School


The Student News Site of Rock Ridge High School


Phoenix Face Vikings in Vicious Battle

On Jan. 9, the Phoenix boys basketball team faced the Loudoun Valley Vikings in a home match. After a strong opening and long fight from start to finish, the Vikings came out victorious 63-36.
Rachel Adams
Sophomore Siddharth Donthireddy and junior Mekhi Motilewa bring up the ball as the Vikings put pressure on the defensive end of the basket.

After a shortened winter break and a week back in school, the Phoenix boys basketball team prepared to face the Loudoun Valley Vikings on Jan. 9. After a strong end to the first quarter and a long battle to the last buzzer, the Phoenix fought to the end but fell to the Vikings with a final score of 63-36.

Tipping off the Phoenix game against the Vikings, fans, players, and coaches came together to sing the national anthem despite a few technical issues. The game began with a quick basket made by the Vikings, giving them an early lead. 

The Phoenix soon recovered and started pressuring the Vikings’ defense, not giving them a moment to rest. Senior Demarrius Stewart capitalized off the momentum and opportunities his teammates made while holding off the Vikings. “I look forward to having the momentum of the team to build us up,” Stewart said. “The crowd and bench players pump us up and get us poppin.” Their aggression paid off, as the Vikings were behind the Phoenix with a score of 19-13 at the end of the first quarter.

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The second quarter saw the Vikings returning the favor: constantly pressuring the Phoenix to tire them out. Junior Mekhi Motilewa and senior Kyle Desai were the backbone of the Phoenix’s defense during the second quarter, constantly pressuring the Vikings and allowing their teammates to break through their offense. Despite the defense the Phoenix put up, the Vikings were able to take the lead at the end of the first half of the game with a score of 33-27.

After feeling re-energized for the start of the second half, the Phoenix continued to pressure the Vikings. The players weren’t the only ones feeling the pressure, as both teams’ coaches were getting heated with calls made by the referees. Despite this, both teams capitalized on the fouls made by the other to regain possession and gain points to take the lead. As a new addition to the team, junior Alex Canfield worked hard on the sidelines to support his team. “Just being loud [is helpful],” Canfield said. “Trying to help any way I can by cheering with some of my other teammates and coaches [helps the team].” After some back and forth between the two teams, the Vikings maintained their lead to the end of the third quarter with a score of  51-29.

Wanting to end the final quarter playing the best they could, the Phoenix put their all into defending against the Vikings to make sure that they wouldn’t go down without a fight. Coach Jason Geyer carefully watched the Phoenix bench, assessing his players and seeing them work together first-hand against the Vikings. “We started off well,” Geyer said. “[But], we hit some adversity that we didn’t respond well to.”

The Phoenix fought till the end, but the Vikings ultimately won 63-36.

Despite the outcome, the Phoenix ended the game with their heads held high,  knowing they put up a hard fight against the Vikings. “We hope to never have that night happen again,” senior co-captain Daniel Okoye said. “We will try to practice harder and be better[in the future].”

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About the Contributors
Rachel Adams, Website Coordinator
Rachel Adams is a senior. This is her third year on staff, and she is one of the Website Coordinators. She is part of the girls tennis team and the theater program. Her favorite hobbies include baking, hiking, crocheting, and reading. Her favorite books are murder mysteries, but she loves all genres. When she graduates high school, she hopes to get into aviation, specifically piloting commercial planes. She has only been on a plane twice, but she knew this was something she wanted to do for a career almost right away. Rachel is excited to see what the future holds, in both college and beyond.
James Bowles, Managing Editor
James Bowles is a senior and is the Managing Editor for The Blaze. In his third year on the paper staff, he still thoroughly enjoys his experience working with everyone associated with The Blaze, and wouldn’t give it up for just about anything. When he compared his previous experience with the student paper as a staff writer versus his current position as an editor, he denotes that both are crucial positions for the paper to run smoothly, though he does appreciate the pseudo-mentor role he has as an editor. He’s also incredibly grateful that the paper has allowed him to spend more time with his brother in academia. One word of advice he hopes to be helpful to the newcomers of the staff is to just hang in there; you will struggle to get in the groove in the beginning, especially when it comes to the more unconventional sides of this work, like photography and interviews, but the knowledge will slowly creep on you, and soon you’ll be able to self-guide through it with ease.
Bella Gerardi, Staff Writer
Bella Gerardi is a junior and this is her third year on staff. She has always enjoyed writing and found a passion in it specifically in middle school.  In the future, she plans to go to George Mason and major in Journalism and Communications to continue her passion for writing. Bella plays lacrosse for the school as a defender. Her favorite hobbies include drawing, playing music, reading, cooking with friends, and watching movies

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