BY KAMISHKA GROVER
The Play Unified basketball team has earned an impressive 11-2 record so far this season with five games left to play. After getting knocked out of the NJSIAA Tournament in the semifinals, the team looks forward to Senior Night this Friday at 4:30pm at home against Sparta.
The team got off to a fantastic start this season, going undefeated in their first four games. “I think most of the team has been playing well because we have been passing and shooting when we need to,” explained Corey Seper, who has 67 points and 13 assists this season.
Appropriately, most of the Unified athletes credit their success to teamwork. “As a whole team, there has been a lot of chemistry added, a lot of off-season practice, and we are always locked in,” shared Kyle Janks, who has contributed 25 assists and 69 rebounds.
The players are quick to compliment and support each other. Sameer Hasmi, who has 12 assists and ten rebounds, exclaimed, “I think Frank Lorence is the best player for our team!”
Lorence has had an outstanding season, contributing seven assists, 11 rebounds, and a team-leading 77 points. Lorence explained, “I score so much by getting the lay ups in and always shooting!”
The team works to develop chemistry both on and off the court. “I think our friendships are key because they allow us to cooperate and work great as a team,” Ethan Hurvitz said.
Working together as a team is bound to lead to success. “The team has really good teamwork,” said Lorence. “We have a great team this year.”
This cooperation has led to the team getting more in synch and reaching their potential. “We have really good chemistry as a team, and everyone knows their role. We have really good communication on both offense and defense” explained Michael Janek, who has hauled in 119 rebounds.
One of the top accomplishments of the season came in the 30-28 defeat of the defending state champion on January 10. “The highlight of the season so far is that we beat the number one team in the state, which was Moorestown,” explained Corey Seper who contributed two assists in the game.
Last weekend, in the first round of the NJSIAA tournament, the team got revenge for their 23-14 loss to Ewing on January 28 by beating them 17-16. “It felt really good to beat Ewing. It was a very physical game,” recalls Alex Percheski, who has scored 64 points this season. “It was an achievement, like beating Monroe.”
The team played Monroe in one of their Pep Rally games during the school day on January 19, winning in dominant fashion 45-29. “[Monroe] beat us three times last year, so we wanted revenge,” said Janek, who had at least one assist in every game he played. “We got that in front of our great fans.”
Everyone on the team loved playing in front of the large daytime crowds. “From a personal standpoint, the highlight of this season is the Pep Rally games,” said Percheski.
The team hopes for another big turnout this Friday on Senior Night. “I am hyped about senior night,” shared Victoria Krol, who is third on the team with 66 points. “I love the crowds, and it’s always exciting.”
Come out and support the team Friday Night at 4:30pm in Main Gymnasium as they play one of their final home games.
Posted on 2/16/23
Photos by Jayden Junaid, Frank Papeo, Abigail Persuad, and Kailey Siegel