Staff edges out students in Winter Rally basketball game

    Palo Alto High School staff defeated the seniors, 21-18, in a blistering Winter Rally basketball game during Flex on Tuesday in the Peery Center’s Large Gym.

    Paly’s Associated Student Body took the game as an opportunity to announce during halftime that Prom 2018 will be located in San Francisco City Hall. ASB invited juniors and seniors onto the gym floor to pop a number of balloons spread on the court, one of which contained the location of Prom 2018 on a slip of paper.

    Paly’s varsity dance team kicked off the game, dancing to Katy Perry’s “Swish Swish” while students in the bleachers cheered.

    The first quarter was filled with a flurry of rebounds and changes in possession between the students and staff, including several rebounds by basketball head coach Peter Diepenbrock and a number of steals made by senior Sophie Frick.

    Near the end of the quarter choir teacher Michael Najar made the first basket of the game, putting the staff team ahead by two points.

    “One of the best sports moments of my life,” Najar said after the game. “This beats anything I’ve ever done before athletically.”

    Assistant athletic director Sydney Davis scored two points for the staff at the top of the second quarter, initiating a high-scoring period that included contributions from senior Norman Karr, athletic director Therren Wilburn-Sudduth, and senior Frank Fenwick also contributed.

    The competition between the staff and students heated up as the quarter progressed, with several fouls called, including a couple of technical fouls called by referee (aka social studies teacher) Eric Bloom.

    During halftime, Paly Cheer presented a stunt-filled performance to Beyoncé’s “Run the World” before the game started up again and the student team sought to diminish the staff’s small halftime lead.

    History teacher Adam Yonkers made one of two penalty shots in the beginning of the third quarter, which Davis rounded out by sinking a three-point shot in the last minute.

    The fourth quarter saw both teams make frantic efforts to snag the win. Wilburn-Sudduth drove home a two-point shot, and the senior team responded by scoring two three-point shots of their own, but in the end the staff team claimed the victory.

    “It was super fun,” senior Emma Staiger said. “Unfortunately we didn’t get the dub [win] but it was definitely fun playing against the teachers. We just gave it our all out there.”

    Yonkers expressed similar sentiments. “Well, first time in this gym was really fun to just experience it,” Yonkers said. “I’ve only seen a volleyball game in here and it’s a great space for future generations. The game itself was just fun. … It’s like my sixth [staff versus. seniors game].”

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