West vs. Tracy: Supporting our girls at Slam Jam

Jada Hallman, Copy Co-Editor

The crowds roared, the stands rattled with cheers and everyone held their breath in anticipation as it all came down to the last two free-throws. On January 26, West High’s girls basketball team gave their all in their last home game of the season against cross-town rival, Tracy High. Both teams played incredible defense, led strong offense and had determined teammates who worked together to play two awesome games. At the end of the night, Tracy High took back two wins, winning the JV game 43-36 and the varsity game 52-51.

Banners decked the walls in neon colors, encouraging our girls to dribble, shoot and score! By halftime of the JV game, West was right behind Tracy, with a score of 17-19. However, due to some unfortunate turnovers, Tracy grew a 10 point lead, making the score 20-30. Defense, steals and rebounds ended the game 36-43, with Tracy High in the lead. Sophomore Dream Rodriguez led the team with excellent offense and sophomores Sarah Hussain, Andrea Woodward and Alexia Croffet played remarkable defense that gave us the ball and the opportunity to make baskets. Throughout the game, teammates never failed to yell encouragements from the sidelines, letting the players know that they were doing great. Their amazing teamwork and quick thinking resulted in a game well-played, and they kept their heads held high as the buzzer sounded the end of the game.

The varsity game would also commemorate our senior players and showcase their years of playing basketball. DJ and activities director Scott Behnam introduced the senior varsity girls along with their families to acknowledge their last year here at West with balloons, flowers and gifts. The West High marching band put everyone in the spirit as the drums pumped everyone up for the game and excited the players who were warming up on the court.

With the starting lineup ready to play, first quarter started fast and aggressive. Free throws and three-pointers brought the first eight minutes to an end, West behind Tracy 7-15. Junior Shantel Nnaji snagged some major rebounds and put up layups that helped close the score gap. Junior Kiara Jones’s three-pointers also contributed to the team making a comeback, making the score 21-25 by halftime.

Teddy-bears soared through the air during AVID club’s toy drive toss, a fundraiser to collect stuffed animals for children without toys, West High cheerleaders and dance team performed amazing routines that sent an uproar of applause into the air and even the boys’ basketball team came out chanting, cheering and encouraging students to go to their game the following day.

The start of third quarter made everyone in the stands and on the court anxious. It was really time to pull out everything our players had. Shots from both sides went up and scored, with Junior Bridget Poston and Senior Marissa Perez making the crowd roar. Third quarter ended with a score of West just barely coming in behind Tracy at 31-38. The stakes were high and the air was tense with nervousness. It all came down to the fourth quarter.

With eight minutes of the game remaining, it was up to our girls to finally tie up the score. With shots made by Poston and junior Maia Wong, the score tied 43-43. Nnaji and senior Jadey Thorsteinson added more to the score, giving West the lead 51-50. However, with the clock out of time, Tracy made two free throws, ending the game 51-52.

This year, leadership wanted our annual Slam Jam basketball game to showcase the girls’ games. “I think one of the things we need to do a better job on is supporting our girls programs, and why not start with Slam Jam?” said Behnam. The excitement from the spirited Blue Crew section of the crowd definitely let the opponents and our own team know that West’s girls basketball teams had their school’s support. And along with our cheerleader squad hyping up the crowd with the boys varsity basketball team beside them cheering along, it was definitely a game to remember, a game played hard and with integrity that truly encompassed the intensity and excitement of a West High basketball game.