Blair Academy Claims State Finals Victory Over St. Benedict’s

Despite Senior Supreme Cook’s best efforts, the Gray Bees ultimately lost to Blair Academy in a dramatic showdown.

The scoreboard illuminates “Home: 68. Visitor 59” with 2 minutes and 34 seconds left in the game. Anxiety and paranoia seemingly overwhelms the fans that have come to support Saint Benedict’s Preparatory School. SBPs basketball team has traveled to Blairstown, N.J., to compete against Blair Academy in the State A Prep Championships. Aaron Estrada prepares to throw a free throw, his teammates eyeing him with hopeful eyes. The Blair Academy students scream at the top of their lungs, a tactic used in an attempt to distract Aaron and mess up his shot. Aaron remains cool, calm and collected, and plots the ball perfectly into the net — not once, but twice.

Yesterday, the game ended with a score of 86-64. Blair Academy came out victorious in the 2018-19 Prep A Basketball State Champions.

The game was visibly difficult for both sides, as the 1st half ended 34-28 with Benedict’s in the lead. Faith and hope dwelled inside of SBP fans. Although they only occupied a small corner in the gym, the energy and passion in the chants matched the volume of Blair Academy’s students.

Senior Lui Chaves taught the SBP fans on the bus to the game the chants the soccer team uses.

“So basically we start like this, we start whistling,” he said, and the students on the bus ranging from Freshmen to Seniors followed his instruction and whistled to the beat.

As the bus arrived to Blair Academy, SBP students walked into the gym whistling and shouting “ohhh oh oh oh ohhh oh, ” filling the gymnasium with Gray Bee Pride.

“Blair played a pretty good game,” said Supreme Cook SY, who is a member of the basketball team. “We knew we weren’t going to come in there and blow them out — we knew we had to fight.”

St. Benedict’s had lost to Blair Academy earlier in the season 61-74 at home.

One student from Blair Academy saw Blair’s earlier win against SBP as an that foreshadowed what was to occur at the State A Prep Championships.

”I can’t speak for the team or the rest of the school, but I thought we would win,” said Kate Gerdsen, a Junior at Blair Academy. “I just didn’t want to say anything to jinx it.”

The fans and students attending the game in support of Blair Academy seemed to be targeting Lehigh commit Jake Betlow more than anything or anyone else. Fans from Blair would chant at times, “Where is Betlow… we want Betlow!” followed by a series of claps. The tactics to get into the team’s head seemed to work as Jake could be seen mouthing responses to the crowd.

“Obviously Jake’s girlfriend went there so like he had a big target on his back and we all knew that coming into the game,” said Cook.

“I feel like individually myself, I could’ve done a lot more for us to be in a better position,” said Adetokunbo ”Toks” Bakare UDII of the game’s results.

Students at SBP were supportive of the team in spite of its loss.

In an email sent to the entire student body, “…mistakes can be fixed,” said Jermaine Price FY. “Don’t let one game define our dynasty at Benedict’s.”

The St. Benedict’s Prep Basketball Team remains in 2nd place and continues to be among nationally ranked teams, coming in as 57th nationally. Many speculate that, next year, the trophy will come back to The Hive. In the words of Fr. Edwin Leahy O.S.B., Gray Bees will show them “that hard work beats talent.”