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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


Sinking a Last Shot on Senior Night: Phoenix Parade Over the Pride

After an intense four quarters of back-and-forth gameplay, the Phoenix claimed victory on their senior night over the Heritage Pride, winning 45-44.
Riya Cherukuri
Students rush onto the court to celebrate with the team after the buzzer beater three-pointer made by junior William Beck. “Honestly, I thought the game was over but then the clock stopped and my heart stopped,” junior Mihir Peta said. “I was like, there’s no way this happened.”

On Thursday Feb. 8, the Phoenix boys basketball team celebrated their senior night with a head-to-head game against the Heritage Pride, resulting in a Phoenix victory of 45-44. The final minutes of the fourth quarter showcased the Phoenix’s chemistry and passion for the game, as they successfully executed many on-the-fly plays to put up easy points on the board. “It feels good to play alongside my teammates,” senior Demarrius Stewart said. “We’ve been through a lot and we just got to finish the season off strong.”

To start the night off, the athletics department and student section came together to celebrate the achievements of the Class of 2024 boys basketball seniors, six of them in total. “[They’re] probably the best group of seniors that we’ve ever had,” head coach Jason Geyer said. Each senior had their name announced as they walked through a line of cheerleaders alongside their family members. After the festivities concluded, the gym lights dimmed as the Phoenix prepared to take on the Pride by storm. 

The Phoenix gained possession of the ball during the tipoff, and quickly used it to their advantage, putting up several baskets on the scoreboard. In the first two minutes of the quarter, senior Isaac Wong put up the first points for the Phoenix by making a contested three-pointer in transition. The Phoenix built off of this momentum by keeping their intensity high and not letting any careless mistakes slip through their offense. A few minutes later, typical starter junior Mekhi Motilewa was subbed into the game, ready to attack the Pride’s defense. Motilewa, being a strong scorer, took the opportunity to rush the Pride in the paint, drawing multiple fouls throughout the quarter. As a result, the Phoenix closed out the quarter in the lead 14-10. 

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Both teams continued to clash back-and-forth in the second quarter, scoring contested layups and long-range baskets near the arc. The Phoenix consistently drew fouls from the Pride throughout the quarter, giving them the opportunity to score easy free-throws. Sophomore Siddharth Donthireddy also pressured the defense outside of the arc by attempting long-range threes, allowing the Phoenix to easily penetrate the Pride’s formation. The Phoenix finished the first half strong, ending the second quarter still in the lead 25-23. 

Both teams kept their intensity high at the start of the second half, not allowing their opponent to easily get past their defense. Motilewa optimized on the growing energy of the crowd and scored consecutive baskets to put his team in a promising lead, ending the third quarter with the Phoenix up 37-29. 

After they received affirmative words of encouragement from the coaching staff, the Phoenix were ready to finish the game off strong in the fourth quarter. The team built off of each other’s strengths to penetrate the Pride’s defense, as they continued to land on the free-throw line after each foul. However, the Pride bounced back with a fierce energy and quickly closed the score margin within a few minutes. With the time running out, the Pride attempted to stall the game with their one-point lead. With ten seconds left on the clock, junior William Beck made the buzzer-beater three-point shot while being contested by two Pride defenders. “Mekhi came around and passed it [to me] and I was like ‘Oh that’s going in,’” Beck said. 

Mekhi came around and passed it [to me] and I was like ‘Oh that’s going in.

After the final buzzer, the Phoenix pit rushed onto the court, huddling around Beck to congratulate him. “I’m glad we got it done in the end,” Beck said. The Phoenix won their senior night 45-44 against the Pride.

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About the Contributors
Sruthi Vivek
Sruthi Vivek, Sports Editor
Sruthi Vivek is a sophomore and this is her second year on “The Blaze” staff. She is the Sports Editor, and she’s looking forward to all of the amazing things that the staff will accomplish this year. Sruthi plays for the Rock Ridge varsity basketball team, and she loves sports in general. She loves going to football games and hanging out with her friends at tailgates. When she’s not out socializing, you can usually find Sruthi in her room stressing about school work or watching TV shows. She’s also very passionate about art and loves to paint in her free time as well. Sruthi is a huge music fan, and you’ll usually find her listening to R&B and rap artists like Bryson Tiller, Drake, Travis Scott, and Tory Lanez. She originally joined Newspaper her freshman year because she loves to write and take pictures.
Fran Rodriguez
Fran Rodriguez, Staff Writer
Francisco Rodriguez is a freshman staff writer for The Blaze, and it is his first year on staff. He wanted to join the school newspaper because he saw a particular interest in the class and likes reading about current events as well as keeping up with the news. Although temporarily injured, Francisco loves playing soccer, being with his family and friends, relaxing on his phone, and listening to music in his free time. If he could ever give himself advice, he would tell himself to talk more and to ask more questions to help him grow.
Riya Cherukuri
Riya Cherukuri, Staff Writer
Riya Cherukuri is a sophomore and a first year staffer on The Blaze. In her free time, Cherukuri enjoys baking desserts. Cherukuri also spends her time playing softball for Rock Ridge. She was motivated to play because her brother played baseball, so being on the field felt just right. Cherukuri hopes to continue playing in college.

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