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Somers Faculty/Student Basketball Game Brings Fun and Competition

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By Rich MonettiPublished about a month ago 4 min read

On Friday May 17, in the thick of the postseason, Somers stepped back and took a little down time courtesy of the Peer Leadership Program. “I’ve always felt this would be a fun idea, having a staff/student basketball game,” said Noah Volkman, the organizer of the event. And no doubt, the Somers senior was on the mark. But competition was definitely part of the lesson plan, and both sides did their share of schooling in the hard fought affair.

A tight 36-33 game with 4 minutes remaining, the kids had the final say, and Matthew D'ippolito provided the summation. “We came here with a job to do,” the varsity basketball player joked after the 46-39 victory.

The game began with John Fontana muscling a put back, and Vinny Difilippo hitting a fade away three. A 6-3 game, Phil Santore came off the bench and had more than the early deficit to fire him up. “They talked trash all week,” the junior revealed playfully, and a three, a tip in and a fast break basket gave the students the lead for good.

Even so, the staff wasn’t going away, and Cailean Nolan made more than a basketball statement with her evasive drive to the hoop. “I got to show them that girls can play too,” said the former Panas basketball player.

Still, Santore didn’t discriminate. He nailed another three to close the first, and properly inspired, Andrew Violante opened the second with a triple.

A 16-10 game,Timmy Monahan added a jumper and age was looking pretty old. Not quite, Patrick May dribble-drove to the hoop for two, and the kids weren’t the only ones who were left double taking. “I don’t know how that happened,” said the physics teacher.

At least, that’s what the high school claimed, because a classroom overlap was definitely a factor in his estimation. “In basketball, there’s projectile motion, energy transfer and the laws of momentum,” May went tongue and cheek.

A joke that didn’t go over the heads of the students. Mass times acceleration was the force in which the kids responded. Both big bodies, Jacob Hauser and Nick Conti down shifted for a deuce and three respectively, and the lead grew to 25-14 at the half.

Two could play at that game, though. Only Mr Fontana used his muscle on the inside. He scored six points in close, and it was quickly a 25-22 game.

So a stop needed, the students got it and continued the teamwork on the other end. Giuseppe Gioffre made a slick no-look pass to Teddy McGrane, and the lead was back up to five.

Of course, the football coach was not impressed. Anthony DeMatteo launched a three, and the drop caused a murmur in the crowd. So DeMatteo dialed it up again..

Not this time, the kids weren’t kind and answered back hard. Jacob Hauser dropped a jumper to close the quarter, and D’ippolito’s jumper and fast break transition to Tom Hauser made the teachers a captive audience. “He takes no prisoners,” Nick Crecco beamed.

A 33-26 game, more girl power almost had the teachers breaking out. Nolan ducked under the rim, put the ball off the glass with plenty of spin, and the reverse lay up wowed the auditorium. Moments later, after Keith Cheatham answered from downtown, Nolan lined up from three and kept the game contained at 36-31.

4:34 left and the teachers weren’t done. Difilippo got underneath, and his putback summoned a will that no kid has. “Once you get older, you get what we like to call ‘dad strength’,” the soon to be Social Studies teacher joked.

Not an isolated incident, the hard nosed play exemplified a game long, generational dominance under the boards. “These kids, these days don’t box out, explained AD Marc Hattem. “They don’t know the fundamentals like us old people.”

The kids actually conceded the advantage, and Teddy Mitchell gladly tipped his cap. “They had more grit than us,” said the senior. “It’s kind of cool.”

Unfortunately, for the teachers, Santore was still percolating. Off the bench again, another trey made it 39-33.

3:51 remaining, the teachers had one last gasp. Difilippo fed Fontana on the inside, and the four point difference looked to get closer when the teachers came up with a stop.

On the inbound, though, a football player dashed the final hope. Crecco skied for the steal and his fast break layup left the gridiron behind. “I’m a basketball player at heart,” said the two time state champ.

A three by Hauser sealed the deal, but the bottom line was there no matter the outcome. “The game shows a real collegiality,” said Hattem. “it’s a really cool senior class.”

However, there was an inevitable downside. “We are already seeing an uptick in teacher absences for Monday morning,” Hattem deadpanned.

So he hopes the already supportive Somers community might take it to the next level. “If you’d like to sub in the building, please call me a call” Hattem dropped the mic on a great day.


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Rich Monetti

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