Spartans triumph over Eagles in rivalry boys basketball game


Carly Heltzel

Down 45–47 with 18 seconds left in the game, senior Joe Brown pulled up for a longshot three-pointer over two LAHS defenders—and it went in. 

The benched players leaped off their seats while the crowd erupted in cheers in the most adrenaline-induced moment of this contentious rivalry match. MVHS won 48–47 after a last second battle riddled with time-outs. 

“This game was crazy,” senior and team captain Joey Peir said. “I would say toughness was the one [quality] that we had. We were down early and then we had to play hard and fight for every single point to win.”

In the first quarter, the scoreboard went back and forth, but the Eagles pulled ahead, ending the first quarter 18–14. 

While the second quarter showed promise with the Spartans winning consecutive turnovers, there was little follow through on their end of the court, leading LAHS to widen their lead by one point; the Spartans left the first half down 24–29.

“It turned around when we went to the locker room,” Peir said. “We cleaned up some things that we were doing wrong in the first half and we came out the second half on fire. And we kind of carried that to the end for the win.”

Peir said playing “zone” defense—in which each player defends on a section of the court rather than being assigned one person to guard—potentially confused the other team to “turn the tide of the game.”

Quarter three had a few notable three-point baskets from Brown allowing the Spartans to catch up and skim ahead in the last five seconds with a lay-up from senior William van Zuylen. The third quarter ended 38–37.

The final quarter brought a new intensity to both teams with rampant offensive rebounds, interceptions, and fouls. The Spartans held onto their small lead until the Eagles’ Jacob Skaggs hit a 3-pointer to bring the Eagles ahead 44-42. 

After the Eagles were up 47–44 with two minutes left, they didn’t score for the remainder of the game. One free throw point from van Zuylen got the Spartans within reach of a win with 48.5 seconds left before Brown’s three sealed the deal.

“I honestly just shot it and it went in and I was like ‘alright, we’re safe,’” Brown said of his game-winning three-pointer. 

After the last seconds dragged on with timeouts and one risky moment where LAHS missed an open net shot, the Spartans threw the ball in bounds with 0.6 seconds left. As soon as the buzzer went off, the crowd flooded the court celebrating a victory against MVHS’s rivals.

“I woke up this morning and I was ready for the big game. I mean, who doesn’t want to play their rivals?” Brown said. “I just knew it was looking good for this game. I had faith in all my teammates and my teammates trusted me; it just felt good today.”