Men's Basketball Update

Michael Gross Staff Writer After a pretty strong start the season, the Latin Varsity boys basketball team entered their first game against Parker with confidence, riding a 2-1 record. You could feel the buzz around the school in the week leading up to the game, as the students were excited to have another shot at beating their arch rival, Parker. The team had been practicing hard all season and hoped their hard work would pay off. Everyone cleared their schedule Friday night – no one was going to miss this legendary matchup. 7:30, Friday night – fans started to file into the DePaul basketball stadium, Parker, in blue and white, on one side and Latin, wearing orange and blue on the other. Before the game had even started the churlish atmosphere was evident, as many Parker fans were chanting inside jokes. There was even a sign that read “The Sidewalk,” making fun of Latin’s very own “The Street.” By the time the tip had been controlled by Parker, the competitive animosity between the two schools was extremely apparent. The game got off to a slow start, as it took a few minutes for either team to score. Parker struck first, getting off to an 8-0 start, led by junior guard Henry Peters. Langdon Neal, the senior is the core of Parker’s team and had torn up the Romans throughout his high school career. Neal got of too a quick start, as Latin struggled to make several of their early shot attempts, having to rely on their efficiency from the free throw line. After the first quarter, Parker had a comfortable lead, as their tough defense left Latin with an early deficit. In the second quarter the Romans picked up their offense, led by seniors Paul Favia and Liam Farley, but continued to have trouble stopping Parker on defense, as Langdon Neal and Henry Peters continued to pore it on – giving Parker a double-digit lead going into the break. Halftime was not only a chance for Latin to come up with a strategy on how they should stop Parker in the second half, but also a time for the tired fans to stop screaming, sit down, and enjoy a different form of entertainment – dancing. The transition from the fast-paced basketball game was interesting to say the least, but the Parker dancer was very impressive. As the fans began to quickly move back into their seats, both sides had an extremely over-confident mentality going into the final half. The Parker fans were thinking, “There is no way these guys can beat us,” while the Latin fans were thinking, “I can feel the comeback coming.” When the teams entered the court, the crowd erupted, as the competitive animosity continued. Latin came out firing in the second half – with a few consecutive baskets from Paul Favia and some defensive stops; Latin had shrunk the lead to single digits. Unfortunately, that was the closest the Romans came to a comeback. Parker proved too strong, powered late by junior center Zach Kupferberg, as they cruised their way to a 64-55 victory. The Romans left DePaul disappointed, especially after Latin’s triple overtime victory the previous year. The men on the team were upset, but were even more motivated for their next matchup, seeking revenge against their heated rival on February 1st at Loyola University Gentile Center. The upcoming games before their next matchup against Parker are certainly important, as Coach Vander Muelen will most definitely be working them hard, hoping to forget about their frustrating loss. Romans basketball has a bright future ahead, not only for the remainder of this season, but for next year, as well, likely to be led by junior starter Kyle Robinson and sophomore starter Gaurav Goparaju – two talented players who have learned a lot of respect from their teammates in their first year on varsity. These upcoming stars will hopefully continue Latin’s glorious basketball tradition.]]>