Marisa has been a photographer on the Harbinger staff for 3 years and the online photo editor for 2 years. Along with photography, she enjoys reading and painting and staying caught up on current events. Read Full »
In the very first minutes of the senior night game, senior John Sears slid off of a strong pick on the left side of the court and launched a three-point shot.
The ball sailed cleanly through the net, putting the Lancers up 6-0, and Leavenworth immediately called a time out.
As they bounded towards the sideline, the Lancer team wasn’t focused on drawing up new plays or discussing strategies. The players on the bench surrounded Sears; sophomore Joey Wentz slung an arm around his shoulders as senior Matt Nestler patted his buzzed head.
The student section — packed into the right half of the bleachers, coated in red, white and blue — roared as it lifted a life-size cutout of Sears’ head above them. It was only the beginning of the Lancers’ 62-37 victory, but East was already pulling ahead towards what seemed to be an easy senior night win.
“John played great and everyone was so excited for him,” junior Gunnar Englund said. “Even though he doesn’t play much he gives 100 percent at every practice and cheers hard for us. He earned that performance and played great.”
Although the night began with a strong lead created by five senior starters — Colin Burns, Luke Haverty, Matt Nestler, John Sears and Christian Blessen — Leavenworth provided an intensity that was difficult to wrangle in the first half.
Leading the Pioneers was senior Cameron Wiggins, who cut an early 7-0 lead to 7-6 with back-to-back three pointers. Wiggins consistently drove to the basket, scoring floaters over 6-foot-7 junior Lucas Jones and keeping Leavenworth within a manageable point differential.
But Wiggins’ success was also Leavenworth’s downfall. When the senior began to struggle in the second half, the Lancers shut down the Leavenworth offense. Meanwhile, junior Lucas Jones dominated during both halves in the paint.
Jones was removed from his original starting position due to senior night, but once he stepped on to the court, his presence was known in the post. Leavenworth was greatly undersized, with their largest post measuring up at six-foot-two, and Jones succeeded by pounding through the Pioneers defense.
Although Jones scored a majority of the Lancers’ points, the team’s success revolved around strong ball movement throughout the night. Haverty led this attack, remaining calm and following head coach Shawn Hair’s mentality of rotating the ball around the perimeter before attacking the inside. Although the first half proved difficult, the win was a memorable night for Haverty and the other seniors.
“I loved spending my last game at SM East with my teammates, friends, family and coaches,” Haverty said. “I wouldn’t have had it any other way. We have two tough games next week so we need as much support as possible.”