Noelsaint Catches Fire, Leads Students to Victory over Faculty in Annual Basketball Game

The Student-Faculty Basketball Game has been a staple at Malden High School for over 10 years and is currently a fundraiser for the Tornado Travelers Club. Advisor Shauna Campbell noted that the game has been played “as long as I’ve been here.” The club is dedicated to allowing students to travel the world; their last trip occurred this past February to Costa Rica.

The bleachers were packed with students once again, showing how important the game was to the school. “I think it’s entertaining to have teachers play an athletic sport or activity with students,” Campbell said. “Then you have other students wanting to watch the game, and it all comes together to build camaraderie and school spirit!”

Unlike last year, this game started off very slowly. The teachers split up their squad into four different lineups, rotating them throughout the first half. In doing so, they separated their best athletes and stifled their offensive play. Despite those struggles, they maintained strong defense and limited the student side from pulling away.

At the end of the 20-minute first half, the students started to pick up the pace. They still underperformed offensively and managed just 23 points at halftime, but the faculty scored a lackluster nine, giving the younger side a fourteen-point lead with a half to go.

However, the faculty found new life with a different approach. Principal Christopher Mastrangelo, serving as the staff head coach for the game, sent his best players out to close the gap. Their combined force proved dominant, and it was not long before the faculty tied the game at 32.

Left to Right: Savion Silva-Clark attempts an open layup; Savion Silva-Clark pulls up with a mid-range jumper. NATHAN DEAN

While stars of the past Wiston Jeune and Jonathan Currier contributed to the comeback, the team’s leading scorer wound up being Salemwood School gym teacher Rebecca Krigman with 14 points. “I shot the ball well,” she exclaimed later. “We had to rely on our teammates, and everyone played a fair game.”

Ezechiel Noelsaint uses his vertical ability to outmatch math teacher Bradley Gelling for the tip off. NATHAN DEAN

With under 2 minutes left to play, the teachers had a 48-41 advantage. Then, senior and boys’ basketball captain Ezechiel “Zeke” Noelsaint flipped the script. He hit a three-pointer to cut the gap to four and student Yandel Huynh took it to the rim for a layup and-1, which he converted. Within seconds, the lead was just a single point.

Although the teachers scored again, they were not slowing down “Zeke the Freak”, who nailed another three-pointer right in the defender’s face to tie the game. After a failed faculty possession, he came back down the court and nailed a long two-point shot, holding his finish. The students had regained the lead.

Football Coach Witche Exilhomme used his physicality to draw two fouls in the last minute but made only two of the four free throws. This left the score tied at 52 with under ten seconds to go. The students gave it to their hot hand but Noelsaint was triple covered on his buzzer-beater attempt, disrupting his shot and forcing overtime.

The overtime period was just a minute long, requiring the players to make a quick play to win the game. With eighteen seconds remaining, the students inbounded from the baseline. They eventually found Noelsaint in the paint who missed two layups but used his top-notch vertical to pull down the rebound each time. On his third attempt, he found the basket to take a 54-52 lead with four seconds left on the clock.

The faculty called a timeout, and Mastrangelo brought the team together to discuss their last gasp at victory. “The play was for Mr. Currier to get a good look at a 2-point shot,” he later explained.

A group of students holding a banner to cheer on their English teacher Meghan McCormick. NATHAN DEAN

But things went very differently on the inbound. The pass found Exilhomme, who immediately attempted a long three-point shot; it fell short, and the buzzer sounded. “Sometimes, the play just doesn’t work out the way you wanted it to,” admitted Mastrangelo.

With that, the students had finally overcome the faculty for the first time since before the pandemic by a score of 54-52.“I don’t like to lose,” Noelsaint said. “That’s it.”

His poise in the deciding moments of the game was excellent as there was no hesitation regarding any of those clutch shots. “The chemistry was there, we played with the girls a lot in practice. That helped us win it in the end,” he continued. Huynh’s clutch layup was also crucial to cutting the deficit, another key factor in the student victory.

Krigman was still optimistic after the loss, noting, “We try to execute, but sometimes we miss a shot. We still tried our best.” Her fourteen points led the team, followed by Jeune and math teacher Bradley Gelling with seven each. Jeune also tallied three assists in the loss.

As for next year, the students will have to battle without Noelsaint, Huynh, and Victoria Gammon while the staff retains their lineup. It will take a younger player to step up for the student side if they wish to take the victory.

The student and faculty teams pose for a photo before the game. NATHAN DEAN

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