Seniors take one last shot

Niki Smithers and Monica Dile

In every sport, there is one game that stands out more than the others, and it becomes a rivalry. Schools and fan bases rally around their teams for the chance to earn bragging rights. In Perry Township, SHS and Perry Meridian High School face off to prove they are the better bird.
For the last four years, seniors Brooke Lightfoot, Desiree Kinney, Alyssa Andreis and Alex Cooper have gone against the Falcons and fallen. Tonight, they will have a chance to redeem themselves.
The SHS girls basketball team hasn’t beaten Perry Meridian in five years. Every girl on the team knows that emotions will be running high, but the seniors know that they can’t let their feelings affect the way they play. Four seniors have been working on the same goal together. These four seniors haven’t beat their rival, the Perry Meridian Falcons, since their freshman year on the basketball team.
“I know that we’re all excited, but we need to stay focused on what we’re doing so we can get this Perry win but also a conference win and then hopefully place second in our conference,” Kinney said.
Unfortunately, one senior won’t get one last chance to step on the court against her rival. Andreis underwent knee surgery for a patellar tracking disorder in December. Even though she was looking forward to this game more than the rest, Andreis knows her team can be successful against the Falcons.
“I think we have grown as a program over the years, so our chances at beating Perry this year are much higher than they’ve been in the past,” Andreis said.
One of the biggest keys for tonight’s game is to stay poised, according to assistant coach Greg Burton. He says the girls know Perry Meridian is going to go on scoring runs, but they need to keep their emotions in check throughout the game. The Lady Cards will have to remain confident and rely on the height advantage they have against the Falcons.
Burton is very familiar with the Cardinal-Falcon rivalry. He graduated from SHS over 10 years ago, and he still gets excited for the chance to face his township rival. Even though he isn’t a student anymore, Burton says facing Perry Meridian is still fun. He knows that the rivalry is huge, and that winning would mean a lot to the seniors.
The Lady Cards have greatly improved since last season, in which they managed to close the gap between Perry Meridian and themselves. With the chance to place second in conference Indiana on the line, Cooper says if her team can pull off a win tonight, it will be the highlight of her senior year.
“The Bloomington South win was amazing,” Cooper said. “But, going out of my senior year and being able to say we beat Perry will be the cherry on top to the wonderful senior season I’ve already had.”
To Lightfoot, beating Perry Meridian is the only option. It’s not just about the game for her, it’s about accomplishing something that she’s been told her entire basketball career, she says.
“Ever since I started playing basketball at Southport it’s always been ‘You have to beat Perry. You can not lose to them,’ or you will never hear the end of it,” Lightfoot said.
Not only would a win earn the Lady Cards bragging rights, but they would be spoiling the Falcons’ senior night. Senior night is a big deal for players. Perry Meridian senior Jessica Spencer says that facing SHS will always be a big deal for her.
“It always means a lot beating or losing to Southport, and it’s a game I personally always look forward to,” Spencer said.
The varsity game between the Lady Cards and the Falcons is scheduled to tip-off at 7 p.m. at Perry Meridian. With emotions and excitement running high, the SHS seniors will take one last shot at taking down their rivals.