From what began as just a fun tournament and the majority of Messenger’s funds, Garfield’s March Madness has been slowly rising as one of the highlights of the year. The competition has been growing without a doubt, but it’s the smack talk and bragging rights that made this year one for the books.
For those who missed out on the madness–here’s a quick recap. There were very few upsets this year, things went fairly as planned. The weak were trampled, the dead hurdled. God is Good took out You Got Schooled in the sweet sixteen, a huge upset considering the teachers have taken the championship for the past two years. Meanwhile, on the other side of the bracket, the lax players plus noah breezed through their first three games, reaching the finals to play God is Good. In the end, God is Good came out with the upper edge, winning 32-28.
The biggest difference between this year and years’ past, was that the tournament was condensed into one week rather than two.
“The tournament was very fast paced this year, but I’m glad we got to get out there and play every day,” said senior and God is Good teammate, George Otis.
However, Otis also has some advice for next years’ Messenger crew.
“It was pretty easy, next time you should get some guys who can compete with us.”
On the technical side of things, there was one gaping hole in the tournament compared to last year.
“Joe Bland was a big part of setting up the gym and making sure the games were running smoothly. This year was a big difference without having him to set up and organize everything,” said counselor and 2-time champion Daniel Lee.
Yet it seems the students out-organized the faculty on all aspects of the tournament this year.
“Next year, we will definitely try to be more organized, and come in with a game plan,” said Lee. “These other teams had a game plan–they were coming for us–and it worked. Their strategy worked and we didn’t have an answer for that,” he said.
Star player of God is Good explains their well thoroughly organized game winning plan.
“Our strategy was only use me when needed. And obviously I was very needed,” said senior and varsity player, Markelle Lily.
Lax Players Plus Noah had a very similar game plan, but were still not able to come out with the dub. When asked what the most successful part of their plan was, varsity player Noah Neubauer said it all.
During the tournament itself, the competition stayed high and the drama seemed low. But the second “God is Good” laid eyes on that trophy, the smack talk began.
“We won the past two years, and this year we felt like we had to allow the students a chance,” said team captain of You Got Schooled, Daniel Lee. “It would’ve been very selfish to win a third time, we did it for the babies, we wanted the kids to have their moment in the sun.”
Markelle Lily speaks for God is Good in response to the teacher’s’ statement.
“If they WANTED to lose, they shouldn’t have been double teaming and crying about fouls,” said Lily. “That just sounds like something a sore loser would say. My condolences to the teachers and their pride.”
Lee explains that there were many mixed emotions about this year’s tournament, and their upset game against God is Good.
“There was a little too much talking going on after our loss, we initially felt like we did the right thing, but then all this talking started happening and it just really made us feel like okay, that’s some motivation for next year,” said Lee. “I mean, we were initially disappointed, but ultimately
it was all part of the plan. Next year I think we’ll be back though,” he said.
It was great to see both immense passion and humbleness from both teams in the finals this year.
“I just wanna say that before the tourney started, I told the messenger that I was going to win…and I did,” said senior Markelle Lily. “Teachers…Maybe next time.”
Not only is March Madness a fun time, but the bragging rights are only redeemable once a year.
“This is what we’ve waited for. This is what I’ve always wanted,” said champion George Otis.
If you’re an aspiring champion looking for some tips to get the gold, just remember, champions are made in the off season.
“We did some recruiting in the off season and it paid off. We’re finally champions,” said senior and champion Jae Abrams.