Student team emerges victorious at Hoopla


Photo by Dara Collins

Members of the Competitive Cheer and Dance team pose with the students and faculty who competed in the Hoopla basketball game. The students defeated the staff to a score of 58-45.

Written By Jordyn Hronec, Co-News Editor

The squeaks of sneakers on hardwood filled the air as Center for Inclusive Excellence Director, Megan Fahey, warmed up on the basketball court. She stood firmly at the three-point line and looked left and right before receiving a pass from Dean of Student Life, Michael Gieseke. She then dribbled up to the hoop before sinking a lay-up and turning around to view her opponents on the other side of the court – a team of students.

Fahey was warming up for an event titled Hoopla that took place on Tuesday, Feb. 19 at 6:30 p.m. in the Student Center gym. The main event was a students versus faculty basketball game, organized by the Point Blank Comedy Collective in an effort to raise funds for their upcoming production, Point Blank Live! (Again) (PBLA).

Attendance to the event was free, but to play in the game cost $3. At the event, students could acquire free tickets to PBLA. The event also featured a half-time performance by the cheer and dance team, a half-court shooting competition and a 50/50 raffle.

The night kicked off with an introduction made by both of the game’s commentators – Jake Berlin and Pablo Uribasterra, also known as Joshua Barcelona and Gary Patrick Alderson, respectively. Barcelona was able to provide commentary, despite suffering from blindness inflicted by a sun-filled vacation to Key West, Florida. Alderson described himself simply as “61 years old and pissed.”

The faculty team consisted of prominent university figures, such as Fahey, Gieseke, Dean of Students Keith Paylo, Director of Athletics John Ashaolu, head women’s soccer coach Maggie Kuhn and Dean of the Rowland School of Business Steve Tanzilli.

The student team included the president of the Point Blank Comedy Collective, Chris Copen, Chrissy Dickinson, Matt Whitaker, Johnny Alderman, Noah Marshalek and Tanner Gavlak.

The game featured some intense moments early on, with the student team taking a prominent lead. Early scorers for the student team were Copen and Marshalek, scoring two points each to start things off. The faculty team lagged behind, but the students gave a point up to Fahey on a foul shot after Copen ran through her in an effort to retrieve the ball.

While the action during the first quarter was largely one-sided, the crowd did find ways to get involved. This included shouting “Keith!” every time Paylo touched the ball.

The first quarter ended 11-5, with the students leading the game. Between quarters, the cheer and dance team threw free T-shirts to the crowd. Barcelona stepped away from the announcers’ table to ask Paylo a few questions, such as who he would call the “Michael Jordan of the faculty team.” (Paylo’s answer was that both Fahey and Kuhn fit the description.)

The second quarter kicked off with the student team making two consecutive 3-pointers that set off a long scoring streak.

A loud buzzer then alerted the teams, crowd and the blind Barcelona that it was time for the halftime show. The dance team performed a pyramid stunt for the crowd that involved Harlem Globetrotter-esque basketball spinning skills. The halftime show was followed by a half-court shooting contest.

Logan LaMaster, PBLA writer and an actor, was in attendance of the game. According to LaMaster, he came to the event to support the Point Blank Comedy Collective.

“I am enjoying myself,” LaMaster said during the event. “It’s really funny and the halftime show was great.”

LaMaster is looking forward to PBLA.

“It’s gonna be a really good show,” LaMaster said. “We’ve got a lot going on. There’s a lot of really exciting sketches.”

Other students attended the event because it was simply something to do.

“I’m avoiding studies,” Frances Recibe, a sophomore psychology major said. “But I think it’s fun, especially since you know who’s playing.”

The second half kicked off with some high points for the faculty team. Fahey sank a trey early into the third quarter, followed by a put-back shot picked up by Ashaolu. Gieseke contributed two points late into the quarter. Although the scoring streak continued into the fourth quarter, it still wasn’t enough to overtake the students’ lead.

Going into the final quarter, the students took control of the faculty’s streak and were able to increase their lead. The game ended with a sunken three-point shot by Ashaolu right at the buzzer, but the student team was victorious, 58-45.

“I would have liked to have scored 13 more points,” Fahey said at the end of the game.

She got involved in the event when Paylo approached Dr. Jonas Prida about joining the faculty team. According to Fahey, she “insisted to be involved.” She said that she had been practicing for the event two weeks in advance, and was happy to have scored four points for her team.

Whitaker, a senior sports, arts and entertainment management major, played on the students team and is also working on the PBLA event as a writer.

“They said ‘let’s play basketball,’ and I played basketball in high school, so I was in,” Whitaker said. Although he described his performance as “mediocre,” but was satisfied with his game play.

“I hit my high school average of three points a game, so not too bad,” Whitaker said.

The night ended with an announcement that after conducting a poll of the crowd, it was time to name the “MVB” (Most Valuable Bread). The winner of the poll, announced by Alderson, was banana bread.

PBLA is set to take place on March 31 in an “undisclosed location.”