Of Blood, Sweat, and Tears

If there’s one thing that has fans quaking in their seats with anticipation, it’s a Big 8 Conference game. This past Friday night, January 15, the Jasper Wildcats and the Washington Hatchets Varsity Basketball Teams went head-to-head on the Wildcats’ home court. The Wildcats’ and the Hatchets’ intense rivalry is no secret to be swept under the rug. Every competition–be it academic, club oriented, or athletic–is bound to be an enthralling experience.

Alex Allen, #53, taking a free throw as the student body watches with arms raised.
Alex Allen, senior, taking a free throw as the student body watches with arms raised, ready to make a basket.

The shrill sound of a boxing match bell resounded through the spectators’ minds as the scoreboard’s buzzer signaled for the first period to start. Jasper stepped onto the court sporting their white and gold trimmed home jerseys and their leathery white boxing gloves as Washington took their positions in their black and gold trimmed attire and their complimentary black boxing gloves. Jasper’s starting lineup consisted of seniors: Alex Allen, Luke Foster, Hunter Gossett, Justin Goebel; and junior Tyler Nottingham. The match is set to begin. The referee blew his whistle, and with it, the fans’ waning patience as they were finally able to indulge in the game. Jasper won the tip-off but was sent staggering in the wake of Washington’s 3 point shot, the first points awarded in the game.

The first period continued  with few outraged cries among the crowd. As they say, it’s always calm before the storm. Jasper was able to cinch the period with a one point difference of 20-19. Jasper sank 13 additional points by the end of the second period with Washington nipping at their heels with 27 points. Third period came and went, resulting in Jasper’s lead with a score of 53-39. Despite the 14 point difference, Washington’s spirit refused to be dampened by the turn of events. Such relentlessness kept Jasper looking over their shoulder, unaware of the sucker punch awaiting them in the final and fourth period.

Jasper players sitting the bench, wringing their hands in anticipation as the game unfolds.
Jasper players sitting the bench, wringing their hands in anticipation as the game unfolds.

Fourth period kicked to life with Washington’s quick two point rebound, rekindling the fire that begged to be lit. Sending several hooks and jabs, Washington racked up a total of 11 points by the 5 minute mark, effectively incapacitating the Wildcats. After shaking off the blows, Jasper reentered the game, this time, with both gloved fists swinging. The score began to close with Jasper’s lead of 57-51. What once were off to the side comments exponentially grew into passionate yells and deafening roars, emanating from all sides of the court. Washington continued to apply pressure and close the point difference until only two points remained, a stalemate within their reach.

Hunter Gossett, senior, concentrating on a calculated free throw.
Hunter Gossett, senior, concentrating on a calculated free throw.

Pandemonium erupted as the Hatchets backed the Wildcats into a corner with a tie of 64-64 with only one minute and eighteen seconds remaining in the game. The seconds melted away with the building tension in the room. Washington drew back its glove, shimmering in sweat, and waited for its time to send the last punch. With only half of a second left in the game, Washington swooped in and stole the last two points of the game, winning with a trademark buzzer beater and sucker punch to Jasper’s gut. The final score added up to 66-64, with Washington raising one weathered black glove in the air.

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