Students Compete in March Madness Basketball Championships
March Madness affects many basketball enthusiasts around the country and the students at Heritage got in on the feverish excitement as well. Teams played against each other for several months this winter culminating with championship games in March.
Ian Petersen, Marketing and Admissions Director, coordinates and coaches team sports at Heritage, including basketball.
“We started in January and ended up with our March Madness games,” Ian said. “We had four girls’ teams and four with boys, made up of students from their homes. They played against each other two to three times a week.”
Ian said rankings were posted after games each week and that points scored were only part of the rankings.
“Points were also given for sportsmanship and teamwork,” he said.
The student body was hyped up with excitement at the championship games. Ian said Chester Powelson, campus supervisor, delivered the game ball, roaring into the gymnasium on his motorcycle.
The final boys game was between the Alta and Cascade North homes. The winning team was Alta, a younger boys’ home.
“John was the most talented basketball player,” Ian said. “He put Alta on his shoulders. A lot of boys scored and it was a good team win. They were down before the third quarter but Alta really took over and took the lead.”
John, 15, led his team to victory.
“The first half was really intense,” he said. “We didn’t get off a lot of shots. In the second half we really broke away.”
Asked how many points he scored, he humbly replied he didn’t keep track.
“I was more interested in the team efforts and teamwork,” he said. “If I’m too focused on my points it affects how my team plays. I didn’t get most of the shots I wanted. I’m just glad my teammates stepped it up.”
Sequoia East and Everest North played the championship game for the girls’ homes.
Ella, 17, played for Sequoia East, the winning team, and spoke of picking up the sport just recently.
“It was awesome!” she said. “At first I was kind of afraid. It is aggressive and I fouled out at times during season play.”
She, too, did not keep track of points during the championship game but remembered it was close.
“Everest North had the same level of strength as our team,” she said. “They had won every game during the season. I’m not good at shooting but I am good at blocking people from getting the ball.”
Ella had an observation about women’s vs. men’s basketball.
“Female basketball should be just as important as men’s,” she said. “I would like to join a women’s team to be supportive. Women are awesome to watch – they are way more interesting!”
While the games are fun and adrenalin runs high, there are benefits beyond the moments spent on the court.
“I was encouraged to play on the Heritage team,” Ella said. “It was a therapeutic experience for me and I picked it up quickly.”
Ian said the sports program has been a great asset to Heritage School students.
“In this program, the homes and youth compete with one another in a healthy, cooperative manner,” he said. “In addition to learning how to play the various sports, the youth gain attributes related to teamwork, cooperation and sportsmanship and there is a unique point system which encourages those attributes.”
Dakota, 14, also played on the Alta team and summed up his feelings about his team’s hard-fought win.
“The hardest thing was their defense,” he said. “They also had a good offense – they scored a lot of points but we still won. It was a fun game. It felt good … I was happy!”