Boys Varsity Basketball beat King to win first playoff game in five years

Captain Adam Bello, a three level scorer, orchestrating the offense.
Captain Adam Bello, a three level scorer, orchestrating the offense.
Konstantin Miebach
Senior captain Nathan Lothian and King player, DJ Pinn getting ready for tip off. (Konstantin Miebach)

In the Fairchester Athletic Association (FAA) Quarter Finals game on 2/20 vs. King, The Masters boys varsity basketball team won a playoff game for the first time in five years, in front of the Masters faithful crowd in the Fonseca Center gym. Masters was ready for King, and once they put their foot on the gas, they never looked back, eliminating them from the FAA championship bracket with a final score of 65-51.

Right before the final buzzer in the blowout game, the crowd counted down loudly from 10, and at the buzzer, fans gave the Masters players a long emotional applause and a standing ovation, marking a new era in this basketball program’s history.

Athletic finisher and sophomore forward Omari Levy shared what his mindset was going into the game, and how he fought to keep his season alive. 

After the game, he said, “I wanted to have a next practice with my teammates. I didn’t want the season to end. I care for this group right here and this is like a family. I want to win a championship and I want them to win a chip.” 

Senior captain and star point guard Adam Bello reflected on how he thinks the team’s energy and attitude helped them win today’s matchup. He said, “Our mindset was the same as it has been for every game so far. Continue to play our brand of basketball, trust in our teammates and coaches, and fight to give us a chance to win. We stayed connected throughout the entire game, and it showed.”

This was an exhilarating game with immense energy coming from the crowded stands, something that doesn’t happen very often. Chants of “De-fense!” and “Let’s go, Masters!” roared through the gym, giving Masters a strong home court advantage. 

Oh my gosh, it was crazy. It was the best environment I’ve played in. Everyone supported and everyone came out. From the beginning of the season till now, people supported, and it’s nice having people believe in us.”

— Omari Levy, Power Forward

Masters’ defense was smothering as usual, per Head Coach Joey Kuhl’s game plan. Their defense allowed for no easy shots coming from King’s offense, players fought hard for every loose ball and offensive rebound, and that was one of the large contributing factors to tonight’s win. Another big factor was their offense. They were hot, especially when shooting from the perimeter. 

For the first 8 minutes of the first half, the game was fairly competitive, but by the end of the first half, Masters had a daunting 14 point lead over the visitors. That wasn’t the largest lead of the game, though. King trailed by as large as 24 points in the second half.

Adam Bello scored a game high 21 points. Omari Levy was right behind him scoring 13 points and Azzan Thomas and Nathan Lothian each had 10 points.

Their next game will be in the FAA quarter-finals against the Greenwich Country Day school, playing in the alumni gym at Greenwich on Thursday, Feb. 22. Greenwich went 7-1 in the FAA regular season, finishing second in the standings. They beat the St. Luke’s team in their quarter-final matchup today 70-54. 

Though Adam Bello enjoyed his first career playoff win as a part of this Masters team, he continues to keep his eyes on the prize saying, “We need to continue to show up and show out. Our team is special and we are doing something that hasn’t been done in some time, but with that being said, that job’s not finished.” 

Greenwich beat Masters in the FAA regular season 58-44, but the team hopes to change the narrative and defeat them in the highly anticipated rematch.

Levy said, “Honestly, we play great defense, and we work as a team. I think we can win. I think we can get to a championship and compete. We just have to lock in and stay together.”

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Matthias Jaylen Sandoval, Editor-in-Chief
Senior, Matthias Jaylen from North Bergen, NJ is currently the Editor-in-Chief of Tower and has been involved in the publication since he was a Freshman. Matthias loved working for Tower the second he started on staff. Before working his way up the ranks to Editor-in-Chief, he was Tower's Social Media Manager, Distribution Manager, and Opinion Editor. Throughout his time on Tower, Matthias has been a nationally recognized award-winning student journalist. He was named the 2024 Versatile Journalist of the Year and has won several other awards from the NSPA, CSPA, Quill and Scroll, PSJA and Best of SNO. He hopes to pursue journalism and communications as his major in college. When he's not in the Tower Lab, you can find Matthias in one of the theatres on campus. He's an active performing artist, and acts and sings for the theatre company. In his free time, he loves to watch his favorite baseball teams, the Mets, and the Red Sox.
Konstantin Miebach, Photographer; Winter Sports Coordinator
Senior Konstantin Miebach has been a photographer for Tower since the tenth grade. He is passionate about sports and action photography, and has stepped up as Tower's Winter Sports Photography Coordinator.

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