2018 season for Marjory Stoneman Douglas is “bigger than basketball”

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Florida

Posted On: 11/30/18 2:57 PM

Marjory Stoneman Douglas tipped off its season at home on Thursday night against Boyd Anderson.

288 days prior, the school went in the national spotlight for terrible reasons, a shooting that left 17 people dead. Since that moment in time, the school has worked endlessly to bring unity and a sense of togetherness to everyone in the school and in the Parkland, Florida area.

Driving to the school and walking into the school and gym, I felt a feeling I’ve never had. I’ve been close to the situation for obvious reasons. I’m in high schools and gyms all the time for my job and I hated seeing everything that happened in a peaceful town, to innocent people and kids. So, I made a point to make it over to Stoneman Douglas for its season opener and it was well worth it.

It was a great showing from the home fans and it was loud the entire time. Boyd Anderson held on for the 50-41 victory against a Stoneman Douglas squad that played with that unity and togetherness that is evident throughout the student body and staff.

“I tell them all the time, whenever you are tired and you think you have nothing left, there are 17 people that would love to be in the situation that you are,” Stoneman Douglas coach Orlando McCorvey said. “I tell them you are never tired, just keep fighting.”

Back To Basketball

McCorvey said it was good to get back to basketball on Thursday night after months of anticipation to the season opener and constant national media coverage.

The Eagles led 18-14 after the opening quarter, giving all their energy to force turnovers. But Boyd Anderson rallied back to outscore Stoneman Douglas 16-0 in the second quarter, taking a 30-18 lead into halftime.

Then in the third quarter, Stoneman Douglas once again fought with clear passion and effort, cutting the deficit to just three points at 35-32.

In the end, the size and athleticism was too much as the Cobras came away with a 50-41 victory. But even with 15 seconds left down seven points, the Eagles were running all over the floor, listening to McCorvey’s instructions and never giving up.

“Last February, we lost our first round district game, the day before the tragedy,” McCorvey said. “It stung a lot last year and then when everything happened, I was even more motivated to get back out there and play.

…”My athletic director was lost in the shooting, a guy who used to drive the team bus all the time and coach Feis the football coach. Those people were real big to me. One of the kids that passed, he was one of my senior point guard’s best friends. He came to almost every game. This year is humungous for us.”

Top Scorers

For Boyd Anderson, 2019 guard Floyd Rideau and 2019 forward RJ Duhart each recorded 13 points while 2019 forward Wylie Howard scored 10 points. The 6’7″ Duhart and 6’10” Howard were on the floor together often and as the game wore on, they were able to get inside on the smaller Stoneman Douglas squad. Rideau was dangerous in the third quarter, finding his groove and he’s a tough and versatile 6’3″ guard.

Stoneman Douglas had one double digit scorer in RJ Rowe, who had 11 points with a pair of corner 3’s in the first quarter. Marshaun West paced him with eight points of his own.

The Crowd

The crowd was a big part of the game and it was clear all night long.

“It shows the unity we have as a school and community,” McCorvey said. “The kids love coming to basketball games, especially the baseball and football players. The kids really love basketball. As long as I’ve been here, we usually have a good turnout. We have 3,300 kids so hopefully, we get these many kids to come out every single game. I love the support.”

 

Bigger Than Basketball

McCorvey told me repeatedly after the game that he doesn’t need to tell his kids the magnitude of the season and what his guys are playing for.

“We added five new kids. They weren’t here last year and the other six that remain were here,” McCorvey said. “Two or three of my guys were in that building. So whenever we kind of bring it up, certain kids it hits a certain nerve which it should, it makes you human. I think the new kids have a good job of understanding what we are playing for. It is bigger than basketball.”

Prior to the boy’s game, the girls played without one of the survivors of the shooting, 2019 guard Maddy Wilford. She was in critical condition days after the shooting, but according to the New York Times, her wounds are fully healed but she still gets tired faster than she used to.

At Broward Health North was where she was seen by a group of doctors who saved her life. Now, she’s volunteering there as an intern, learning about medicine from those doctors as she hopes to come one herself.

This is just one of many kids at Stoneman Douglas thatis passionate and aiming to better our future following the horrible tragedy that struck the school on Feb. 14, 2018. It is incredible to see this community come together firsthand.

Follow Jake Perper on Twitter (@JakePerper) or email him directly at jakeperper@prephoops.com.