Boys basketball finishes in fiery fashion

Their season in words

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photo by Reagan Eastlick

Senior Jah Nze drives to the basket. Nze would finish with 21 points in Hagerty’s final game.

Every once in a while, a game defines a program. Every once in a while, the stars align, on the court and in the sky, and a game ensues which defies all normal expectations. Every once in a while, a basketball game like that of Hagerty vs Seminole in the district finals graces the courts.

The game was tied 62-62 with 30 seconds left, and Seminole took a deep three from the corner of the court, putting them up by 3 points, pushing them over the edge to victory. The shot was contested, and taken from the hardest position on the court. It would be the last made shot of the game. 

“I give credit to Seminole because they played well,” senior Jah Nze said “but I feel like nearing the end [of the game] the refs gave bad calls, especially on the technical call.”

The technical was called with 40 seconds left, and was issued after a celebration between senior Ian Salinger and Nze.

“They got fired up, and I never thought it should have been called. That’s a big deal to call that. The timing was disappointing,” reflected Josh Kohn.

Nze had the ball, and had the technical not been called, Hagerty would have been up by five instead of three. Those two missed points made all the difference.

“I think that the ref was overzealous when he gave that call. Tensions were high, and that was our moment. He could have at least given us a warning, and he went straight to the tech,” Nze said.

After the technical was called, the game’s momentum shifted toward Seminole and eventually led to a deciding three-point shot, a shot that would cost Hagerty the game. But that does not mean they did not play a good game or have a great season. 

“I wouldn’t have done anything differently. We played our game well,” Kohn said. “Whatever we did for the entire game, we did a good job. There’s a reason the game was so close.”

The team had an inspiring finish after a slow start. The team was 5-5 before Christmas break, and during three of those losses, they were missing key players. After the break, the team’s record was 15-3. Their wildly improved record was a reflection of improved team chemistry and cohesion.  

“We were a really good team ,and we were right where we were supposed to be. And it just didn’t happen,” Kohn said.

As for Jah Nze, he walks away from the season with the individual points record for the program. It’s fitting that his final game of the season was as dynamic as his legacy. 

“I appreciate everyone who let me play my game and has been with me through the ups and downs, successes and mistakes. Even though we lost, I wouldn’t have had it any other way,” Nze said. 

As for Kohn, he sees the season as a success. “The goal was to be good. We accomplished the goal.” 

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