Unified Basketball banquet brings laughs and tears for athletes

Isabella Mahal

Photo Credit: Karen Manley

On Tuesday, April 4, the Fossil Ridge High School Unified Basketball team held their end of season banquet. For seniors Madi Ayraud, Dominic Cardona, Sydney Hansen, Prestyn Martin, and Chloe Oster, the night marked the end of their final season. Thanks to the combined efforts of the parents and coaches of Unified athletes and Ben Degear’s sophomore advisory class, the basketball players were given awards from “Best Defense”  (Peter Cifaloglio) to “Mother Teresa” (Sophie Elliot). Qualifying athletes also received official letters for their accomplishments this Unified Season.

In return, as a surprise for the coaches, the team presented several original memes featuring pictures of Ms. Eberhart, Ms. Westyn, and Ms. Hutson. The adults all but competed with their athletes for the funnier anecdotes. Eberhart presented the “Texting Award LOL for always texting from the bench” to Bella Vassalli, and Vassalli put “When you’re only 4’8” and you need that extra 4” from your Timberlands to coach basketball” onto the screen right back at Eberhart.

Lina Spiller and Dee White are members of the Unified team and of Degear’s advisory class, and they were joined by Kara Trombly at the banquet to make sure everything ran smoothly. The girls explained that their class knew from the beginning of the service project that they wanted to do something to help the Unified team. Originally, the plan was to simply garner more support and encourage more fans to come to one of the games. However, Spiller said that the class realized that the season was approaching a close when they decided to shift their idea.

Trombley and several others went to games throughout the season to take pictures, and another classmate assembled them into the slideshow that was projected throughout the banquet. Members of the class brought food and decorated the tables, set up for the event and came after to clean up. The students tried their best to take the workload of organizing the banquet off the shoulders of the coaches, so the adults could just enjoy being with their whole team for the final time.

David Van Skiver, sophomore, was awarded both a varsity letter and the “Worm Burner” award for “always making his way to the basket”. He couldn’t pick just one thing that he was proud of from his team this season, but he was clear that his favorite part is, “helping the team win.” Van Skiver feels that he brings leadership to the team, and he’ll definitely be back next season.

Dawson Coker, junior, agreed that the “Best Teammate” award he received means a lot to him. He is proud of himself when he shoots baskets, but he’s even prouder of his close friend Cifaloglio “when he steals the ball.” Coker loves to play basketball, especially grabbing rebounds and getting the ball down the court. He thinks that everyone should come out to the games to have fun, because he always does.

Matt Coleman, sophomore, received the “Swiss Army Knife” award for being indispensable, and it’s important to him because he wasn’t expecting it at all. He believes that the team has really improved and connected with each other this season, and he loves to see everyone work together and have a good time.
Come support the Unified Sabercat athletes at their next soccer game on Wednesday, April 12 at 6 pm at Fossil!