MSD men’s varsity basketball pulls ahead against Coconut Creek High School on their Senior Night


Sophie Goodman

The MSD varsity basketball seniors pose for a photo all together at their senior night game against Coconut Creek High School. The Eagles defeated their opponents with a score of 72-34.

On Thursday, Jan. 20, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School men’s varsity basketball team faced off against the Coconut Creek High School Cougars for their eighteenth match of the season. The match also was the team’s Senior Night.

Before the start of the game, each senior was recognized for their dedication to the team, reflecting on their efforts put towards their last season with the Eagles. The entire team was motivated to come out victorious in respect to their soon departing seniors. Their desire to play was evident during their warm-ups, as the Eagles put on their game faces way before time started.

With the excitement of Senior Night, the Eagles also looked towards their district scheduled games to end and their road to states to begin. The team currently holds a solid record of 14-3, and another win would benefit their seating for districts.

Going into the game, the Cougars held a record of 1-16, as the odds favored the Eagles off the bat. Nonetheless, the MSD team never let their guard down and came into the game strong, winning the tip-off once the buzzer rang.

After a few changes in possession, center Wesley Aurelus (23) put two points on the scoreboard for the Eagles shortly after the game began. Immediately after the shot, the Eagles had a quick return of possession, keeping the ball on the offensive side of their court for the majority of the first quarter.

Point guard Diego Rodriguez (1) dominated the court with his quick pace and aggressive defensive plays. Within the first eight minutes of the game, he managed to intercept the ball twice, leading to offensive assists that boosted the Eagles’ score four points.

The Eagles offensive charges did not end in the first quarter with Rodriguez’s performance as shooting guard Brandon Gopaul (2) also added to the scoreboard, breaking through the Cougar’s defense with a difficult three point shot. With recurring similar offensive plays from shooting guard Nicholas Frazier (14) and the other seniors on the court, the Eagles left the first quarter at 19-7.

With the advantage of being ahead by 12 points, the Eagles were motivated to keep their streak going throughout the second quarter. They began to falter, however, as the Cougars made offensive advancements, resulting in multiple clears up and down the court. Even though the Cougar’s managed to get around their defense in some instances, the Eagles limited the amount of points their opponents put on the board.

Aurelus resembled a stone wall, blocking multiple attempted layups from the Cougars. His defensive action with his team’s help allowed for the Eagles to end the half ahead, with a score of 36-13.

“My defense was great and I made them think twice about going to the basket. I also got to show some of my jumping ability and instincts on those blocks and steals,” Aurelus said.

Carrying the first half’s momentum into the third quarter, the Eagles pushed to maintain their marginal lead over the Cougars. The team was able to expand their lead even further, as several MSD players contributed points to the scoreboard. The team also held down on the court’s defensive end, as Gopaul and Aurelus were able to intercept and block the Cougar’s attempted shots.

The score was 52-20 in the beginning of the fourth quarter and the Eagles were in control of the court, making back to back hoops and consecutively blocking the Cougars from making shots. In the middle of the fourth quarter, players who were not able to play during the first three quarters were subbed in. Many of the seniors grew exhausted from playing hard in the game’s first half, giving the underclassman an opportunity to shine in the final stretch. Small forward Tripp Davis (12) and shooting guard Evin Jenkins (24), both juniors, did not disappoint, as both made aggressive offensive advancements to score.

When the score board’s final buzzer rang, the entire crowd erupted in cheers for the Eagles, who defeated the Cougars with a score of 72-34. It was a memorable night for the seniors, especially Rodriguez and Aurelus, who held their own on both sides of the court.

“I think as a team we played fairly well, but we know we could play way better than that. So in practice we’re going to go over the details to make us a better team,” Tavares (4) said.

The Eagles play their next game, away, against Blanche Ely High School on Thursday Jan. 27. The team hopes to extend their five game winning streak to six and end their season’s scheduled games on a high note.