School March Madness tournament wraps up after a month of scintillating basketball

April 5, 2023 — by Anirudh Iyer
Photo by Natalie Chua
Senior Mateusz Palusinski in action with junior Kali Duvvuri and sophomore Caleb Yu during the March Madness game on Mar. 15.
With the NCAA March Madness coming to an end, campus’s intense, action-packed tournament wraps up.

Though there are few intramural sports on campus, the annual March Madness tournament ensures quality is prioritized over quantity. With 24 four-person teams and participants including faculty and students, this year’s tournament had a diverse lineup.

The staff lineup included senior varsity basketball team coach and humanities teacher Mike Davey, along with mathematics teacher Lisa Ginestet-Araki. They were accompanied by English teachers Erick Rector and Marcos Cortez. 

Ultimately, on March 16, team “Monkeys,” composed of sophomore Caleb Yu  and juniors trio Kali Duvvuri, Vidur Sanghi and Mohit Gandluru, prevailed 19-14 over “JSU,” whose squad was made up of junior Shane Timmons and seniors Seth Hulme, Nihar Somayajula and Mateusz Palusinski. 

The goal of this tournament was to serve as a fun event which promoted basketball across campus and provided entertainment during lunch periods, according to spirit commissioner senior Ela Machiroutu. 

The event’s humorous element can be seen through some of the team names. Players were given full liberty over what to title their squads, with no shortage of creative picks ranging from “Octopusses” to “Otto The Orange.”

Assistant principal Matthew Torrens said while the school tournament historically received suboptimal turnout, participation has been outstanding in the past five years, with the campus community captivated by the medley of basketball on display throughout the month. 

Rather than the traditional five-player teams on the court, March Madness squads had four players in total, with three players on the court while the ball was in play.

As captain of the “Bob Jones University Bruins,” senior Gavin Kibort looked forward to being the leader of a team while also playing competitively with his friends. Kibort’s teammates included junior Jan Anji and seniors Anshul Narayanan and Dan Garniek. 

“I love basketball,” Kibort said. “I love competing against others in activities that I enjoy. This tournament was awesome, and even though we went in planning to do everything possible to win it, we fell short at the end.”  

To prevent the creation of excessively strong teams against a widespread playing field, teams were limited to one varsity basketball player each. Some of the standout players from each of the school’s varsity teams taking part in the annual tournament included seniors Mason Wang and Mayson Yu, Mateusz Palusinski and Tanya Ghai. 

“It was a whole different vibe from what I’m used to with the basketball team, but the reduced intensity and more fun energy over this past month was definitely a welcome change of spirit,” Palusinski said. 

The rewards for the winners of the tournament included Amazon gift cards and campus-wide recognition during announcements after the series of games finished. 

Machiroutu said that turnout was positive this year, as those who did not participate in the games came and supported their friends and teachers. She said students as a whole rarely see their teachers outside their classrooms, and the prospect of watching the staff compete in basketball matches strongly piqued students’ interests.

“I think this year’s March Madness tournament went well. We promoted it quite a bit and a lot of students’ favorite teachers played. That, along with the fact that we want to support our friends, made this tournament  appealing,”  Machiroutu said. “The basketball games themselves were great too, and people who don’t usually touch the court were able to compete for a month, which is always nice.” 

2 views this week