Senior Upward team wins championship


Noah Wemple

The Senior Upward team poses after capturing the title game in a close contest.

Spencer Payne, Editor

In the final game of their careers together in Upward, the senior team won the Upward Championship by a score of 41-39. 

The team finishes with only one loss on their resume, closing the playoffs with three straight wins and finishing the year 10-1. 

Evan Richmond shoots a free throw during a previous matchup in Upward.

Strong first quarter sets the tone

Photo by Anna Ardolina. Taken during a different game.

To start off the game, the team took a 9-2 lead, looking like their usual selves. Their efforts on defense, as well as their drives to the basket, allowed them to begin strong. While it took a few minutes to put points on the board, center Evan Richmond sunk two free throws to begin the run. Richmond, a streaky shooter from the line, delivered in the most important game of the season.

However, to close out the quarter, the opposing team was able to cut the lead down to just two, ending the quarter 11-9.

The senior starting roster discusses their next move during a dead ball period in Upward.



Shaky start to second quarter shrinks the lead

Photo by Anna Ardolina. Taken during a different game.

After beginning on a hot streak, the shots stopped falling for the seniors and began to shift to their opponents. They backed down to the hoop and scored with ease, even taking the lead early in the quarter behind the scoring of #54.

Yet, even when they were down, the seniors fought back and took the lead, running away with another seven-point lead to end the half with the score of 24-17. With their heads held high, they were ready to close out the game.


Coach J.R. Brown speaks to his team during a time-out.

Turnover-heavy third quarter throws wrench in team

Photo by Anna Ardolina. Taken during a different game.

When both teams came back after half, the other team was able to find weaknesses in the usually dominant senior defense. Whether it was a stroke from three or a hard-fought layup, the shot went through. Pair this with miscues and sloppy sets on offense by the senior team, and this led them to falling behind by the end of the penultimate quarter of the game.

While they had the same looks as they did in the first half, luck was not on their side, as the shots spun around the rim and out on various occasions, while circus shots by the opposing team went in without question.

Fourth quarter efforts seem futile 

In the fourth quarter, the other team held the lead most of the way, finding an answer for every shot that the seniors made. When the seniors made a shot to cut the lead, they scored immediately after to bolster the lead once again. It was seeming as though, through a game where they gave it their all, all hope was lost.

Ian Pineiro spots up from three and knocks down a shot in a match against another team in Upward.

Snatching victory from the jaws of defeat

Photo by Anna Ardolina. Taken during a different game.

The lead that their competitors held was consistent throughout six minutes of play in the final quarter. With only one minute remaining in the contest and down 39-36, someone had to step up and make a big play for a chance to win the game. That is when Ian Pineiro pulled up from the corner of the court on a contested attempt, and he drilled the three to tie the game with less than 30 seconds left. “When I went for the shot, I didn’t think I was going to make it,” Pineiro recounted. “I really thought someone would need to grab my rebound, and when it went in, I couldn’t believe it.”


This clutch play had invigorated the team, but the job wasn’t done yet. With time left, they needed a defensive stand. That was when the other twin, Justin Pineiro, took an offensive foul to give them a chance to seal the win in regulation. With these two plays, the two brothers were able to turn the tides of the game. 

After the foul, there were just six seconds left on the clock, giving them just one last play to run. With Justin inbounding the ball after the foul, they had to get down the court and put up a shot. He heaved it to Ian, who then threaded the needle to Benjamin Lachance. Lachance drove in and threw up a one-handed layup while falling away from the basket. The ball banked off the backboard and in, giving them the lead. “When I made the shot, it felt surreal. It was almost like an out-of-body experience. I hit that floater, and I felt like I was on cloud nine,” said Lachance.


The crowd went wild, storming the court after the heroics that transpired in the last minute of the game. The team captured the win, cementing the first year of OSOTA basketball as one to remember. Behind the incredible coaching of Coach J.R. Brown and the leadership of the team, they were able to capture the victory to close out their careers.