Black Vs Orange Senior Night

Djasahn English and Riya Kapoor

Senior night has always been an important tradition in LFA athletics as it provides a way for seniors to have their last hoorah at home. However, this year, both Varsity Basketball Teams’ Senior Nights were canceled at the last minute due to the opposing school calling a snow day. Thankfully, Varsity Orange Head Coach, Kyle Koncz, along with the athletic administration, improvised a way for the seniors to still have their special moment. 

“When the game was canceled the night before, we were put in a very tough situation to find a team to play in 24 hours, and we weren’t able to do that. But I wanted to give the seniors a chance to compete on their homecourt because they didn’t get many opportunities to do that during the season,” said Koncz.  

The solution that was reached was an exhibition match between the two varsity programs, in which both teams were split up and evened out, with seniors split and put on different teams. The vital aim of the event was to honor and celebrate the six seniors who dedicated themselves to the basketball program throughout their time at LFA: Darius Duff, Michal Novak, Shaedon Simpson, Brendan Flahery, Sano Rutatika, and Carter Shi. Each senior’s commitment to the team was acknowledged in individualized speeches by Coach Koncz.

Darius Duff ‘22 said, “It was fun being on the court with my teammates one last time. Being a four year senior, it felt special being able to celebrate and it was nice having my loyalty recognized.” Duff went into the game thinking he was not going to have as much fun due to the unforeseen circumstances of the game, but said that he “ended up having a really nice time.” 

This solution came with both negatives and positives. Without the presence of an opposing team, the pressure to win was redirected into energy for celebration. While there was a mindset that it wouldn’t be enjoyable without another team, the members of the basketball team are competitive players, even without the threat of a loss.

Brendan Flaherty ‘22 said, “With both teams there, the atmosphere was electric because everyone was very involved.” The teams had become familiar with each other through the season due to many co-practices and the use of floaters to bolster the roster of the Orange Varsity team while players were out from injuries or illnesses. 

This interconnection between the groups remained one of the reasons the game had the success it did. “The guys knew each other, the guys supported each other, and the guys pushed each other, and that’s important, if we’re going to have an Orange vs. Black game, it needs to be with two teams or twenty guys that love and respect each other, otherwise it couldn’t have gone so well,” said Koncz. 

Both Duff and Flaherty had their own ideas regarding the future of an intersquad scrimmage. Flaherty said, “It could be a good annual tradition that engages the entire basketball family if it were turned into something like the NBA All Star Game with captains and a three point contest at half time.” While Duff said, “If we were to have it again I would not have it be senior night, I think it’s a nice tradition but it wouldn’t be appropriate for senior night.” 

The Orange vs. Black senior night was an experiment that provided an unforgettable unique experience, and would be something worth making a tradition, just not as senior night. A lot of details about next year’s season have to be figured out, but the return of an intersquad scrimmage would be something enjoyed by players, coaches, and students alike. 

“Members of both Varsity Orange and Black linking arms posing after the event. Seniors Sano Rutatika in the middle, Darius Duff second furthest to the right, and Brendan Flaherty furthest right.”
(Photo by David Atas )