Seniors help lead way as Redhawks extend winning streak

District 13-5A champions win 13th straight game

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  • With their family members at their side, seniors James Matthis, Josh Philips, Zac Watson, Kendall Brown, and Jadyn Bennett stand at half-court during senior night festivities on Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018.

  • Senior James Matthis and all other senior basketball players were recognized with their parents prior to Tuesday's game.

  • On senior night, Watson and his mom, Tami, pose for a picture for his final high school season.

  • Senior Kenny Cheung walks to half court accompanied by his mom, Suk Cheung.

  • Josh Philips

  • Senior Dylan Shusterman (#4) anticipates the Titans' next move to maintain the lead as the eight seniors aim to make it a memorable night.

  • Sterling Eubanks

  • Senior Jadyn Bennett awaits the ref to hand him a ball before shooting a free throw in Tuesday's game against Centennial.

  • As one of the top forwards in the state, will major in business at UC Riverside.

Senior boys’ basketball took steps across the court for their last district game against Centennial on Tuesday. Walking along the half court line with a parent or loved one heightened the importance and emotions of the final District 13-5A game, a 72-49 Redhawks win.

“Senior night was inspiring and something to remember when I’m old because you only have one senior night and it’s pretty special,” senior Jadyn Bennett said. “It was special for me to walk out with my parents because they started with me and then I finally ended Liberty with them so it’s pretty memorable.”

Perry Mellone
After senior night festivities, senior Zac Watson (#22) jumps for the opening tip during Tuesday’s final home game of the District 13-5A season, a game won by the Redhawks 72-49.

A family-oriented team, the end of the season means the impending loss of brothers and teammates.

“It’s actually pretty crazy that it was my last game,” senior Kenny Cheung said. “I think I’m gonna miss my family like my team. It’s just a great experience to go out for one last game. It’s just evident of all my hard work that I’ve done over the years. I think it’s just definitely the relationships that I got to have with my friends.”

Head coach Stephen Friar honored the class of 2018 by starting seniors that have been in the basketball program since middle school.

“Senior night was great,” senior James Matthis said. “It was really cool to be honored like that. It made me feel like we were really valued and respected it was great because all our friends were there, all our family was there. We’ve put in a lot of work.”

Although senior Zac Watson is expected to continue his basketball career in college, he’s leaving the comfort of playing alongside his friends that he has grown up with.

“It’s going to be weird because you start the whole cycle over from being a senior to being a freshman,” Watson said. “I’m definitely going to miss everyone.”

It’s a sentiment shared by senior Nikhil Dham.

Perry Mellone
Bringing the ball upcourt, junior Jadyn Bennett (#2) looks to initiate the offense as junior Zion Richardson (#11) makes his way from the backcourt.

“Just all of the friendships I have made in basketball I hangout with most of kids in basketball now,” Dham said. “I’m really close with them, I’m going to miss that a lot.”

From practicing every morning on campus to leaving high school and focusing on their future, these seniors will have to take new steps away from everything that they’ve known.

“It’s something we played everyday and something we love to do so it’s going to be hard to adjust,” senior Dylan Shusterman said.

Playing since he was six, senior Sterling Eubanks’ parents role in his basketball career made the night worthwhile.

“It meant a lot to me,” Eubanks said. “My family is a big part of my life, a big part of my basketball. Just to see them there celebrating that moment with me was great.”

Adding to the excitement of the night, the boys finished the district season on a 13 game winning streak.

“I think it just made us realize how long and how many hours we’ve put into this program and how we’ve all become brothers over the years,” senior Josh Philips said. “It was gracious to look around and finish it off together.”