2019 Hope Game

by Kayla Faasse

The men’s varsity basketball team took home quite the epic win for the Hope Game, winning 93-89 with star Junior guard, Antonio Maillaro, making several free throws that brought the game into overtime, and eventually giving them a lead that won the game.

The Hope Game is played to honor Coach Clarke Sr. and raises money for a scholarship to reward one lucky student , with all proceeds from the night benefitting the cause.

The first quarter consisted of many shots made by Harlan Nichols. In this quarter, Junior Connor Peterson received his first personal and team foul for the Panthers.

The game was heating up at halftime with a tight score of 32-30. The boys returned to the locker room with the coaches as the crowd cheered on the performance from Palo’s Belladonnas.

As the boys returned, both teams were ready to face off in the rest of the quarter with the Longhorns immediately bringing the score to a tie of 32-32. Harlan Nichols was fast in reply with scoring two points with Kade Madsen close behind him adding on another three points to the Panther’s score.

The Longhorns progressively worked their way up on the scoreboard after multiple battles of control with the Panthers, giving them the lead of 55-58 by the end of the third quarter.

The Panthers continued to fight against some fouls and consistent buckets from Legacy. With only two minutes left in the game, the Longhorns fouled  Maillaro, allowing the game to be tied at a score of 72-72, ultimately bringing the Panthers into overtime.

“Heading into overtime there was a lot of emotions, we just knew we were going to have to give everything we had and try our best to win the game,” says Maillaro.

With many fouls being called in the first overtime, the Panthers pulled off yet another tie with the Longhorns at 79-79, making the crowd stand in anticipation as they entered double overtime.

“It was our first overtime of the year and it was such a fun game and the atmosphere in there was great so I didn’t want it to end,” Kade Madsen said. The game seemed to last forever in double overtime with everyone on the edge of their seat.

With four more extra minutes on the clock, Legacy fouled Caden Loerwald, who gives the Panthers the lead with an additional point. Legacy quickly answered back with a free throw point and fast layup giving them the lead of 80-82.

With less than thirty seconds left on the clock, Legacy gives up their lead by fouling Maillaro once again, who played a crucial role by making all of his free throws.

“Making the free throws at the end of the game felt pretty nice. The Hope Game is such a special night honoring Coach Clarke and to know we were going to have a chance to win, it gave us hope,” Maillaro says giving the Panthers the lead.

Adding on to their lead, Harlan Nichols made the final free throw of the game, ending the game at a 93-89 lead of the Palo Verde Panthers.

The Hope Game provides astounding motivation to every single player involved in the program, allowing them to fight for a good cause with the memory of Coach Clarke Sr. motivating the team.

Every player showed dedication and hard work, but most importantly they all had a passion for the game.

“The Palo pride was rocking in the gym and it was fun! I felt so proud of my boys for getting the win on such a special night and glad we took care of business,” recalls Maillaro.