Men’s Varsity Basketball Dominate the Bonanza Bengals for Annual Hope Game

by Kayla Faasse, Sports Editor

Student body gathered in the bleachers on January 17th to support the varsity basketball teams taking on the Bonanza Bengals at the annual Hope Game dedicated to Coach Phil Clarke Sr, the first men’s varsity basketball coach at Palo Verde. 

All of the proceeds raised from this game are put into a scholarship established in Coach Clarke’s name. 

“This game is where the biggest chunk of raising money for that scholarship comes from, so it’s always a lot of fun to see the big crowd filled with people that you don’t normally see. People came out because they knew our family or they knew my dad and to me personally, it really means a lot to see so many people supporting this game,” said Coach Clarke. 

The boys came out ready for a fight. Despite setbacks in the first quarter of the game, the Panthers overcame challenges with a little bit of hope to come out on top with a final score of 75-59.

The Panthers started the game off to a great start with senior Harlan Nichols scoring two points in the first ten seconds. 

The Bengals were quick to retaliate by scoring two baskets in a row, taking the lead of 2-4. Kade Madsen made sure to tie the game with a two-point basket of his own, shortly followed by Connor Peterson shooting a three-ball giving the Panthers a score of 7-4. 

At halftime, the boys found themselves in a very close game leading 37-33. The Panthers started the second half out hot knocking down shot after shot, making a significant swing compared to their first quarter. 

In the last few seconds of the third quarter, Antonio Maillaro left the crowd hyped up after making a three-ball giving the Panthers a stronger lead of 52-42.

In the last quarter, the Panthers scored another 25 points while the Bengals could only get four points added onto their scoreboard. 

The Panthers definitely showed off their strength and dedication in this commemorative game in honor of a beloved coach. 

“The Hope Game is a way to bring everyone who Coach Clarke [Sr] has impacted and continues to influence even to this day. It brings us together through the sport of basketball and I am happy to play my part in the amazing day,” Nichols said.