Haverford Boys Basketball Goes Dancing to District 1 Playoffs


Reese Wagner

Haverford Boys Basketball seniors get ready to play their last season at HHS. (Pictured left to right: Tommy Wright, Googie Seidman, Brian Wiener, Gorman Bright, Wil Cascarina, Liam Cunningham, James Denman, Kevin Gannon)

Lydia Stavrakos, Sports Editor

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On Tuesday, February 7, the Haverford community piled into the stands of Juenger Gymnasium not just to watch the boys basketball team dominate the court, but also to honor the late baseball Coach Mike Essery. Essery passed away on November 16, 2022 at the age of only 38 years old. He served as the Haverford baseball coach for only a short period of time, but he greatly impacted both the team and community. The night was opened by a ceremony to honor the coach, led by Haverford Athletic director Greg Decina, who announced that over 650 shirts had been sold in honor of Essery. 

The night also had high stakes. If Haverford did not win, they would not be advancing to district playoffs. Along with this, Senior Guard Googie Seidman had a more specific goal. He was only 21 points away from his 1000th point, an amazing feat for anyone, especially a high school athlete. With this in mind, the night was sure to be a stressful one. 

As the actual game began, Garnet Valley immediately took the ball, signaling a somewhat weak start for Haverford.. Yet, Seidman was able to easily hit a three-pointer, putting Haverford in the lead 3-0. This was quickly followed by Senior forward Tommy Wright, who also hit a three. Garnet Valley did not give up, however, as Logan McKee scored a three pointer, making it 6-3 Haverford. The quarter continued much like this, ending 15-9, with Haverford pulling ahead. 

The next quarter opened up rather aggressively, with both teams vying for the ball. In the previous quarter, Senior Guard Brian Wiener had suffered a mild yet painful looking knee injury, causing the fans to question whether or not he would be okay to play the rest of the game. Nevertheless, Wiener was able to quickly pull through, and hastily score a three, followed by an impressive steal and another basket. With Haverford consistently leading the game, the quarter ended 33-27. 

Seidman seemed to be the focus of the game once the second half started. Garnet almost immediately fouled, but after two Haverford free throws, Seidman was only 6 points away from his target. It slowly decreased to 4 more as the team seemed to be passing the ball to him often, sharing his hopes of reaching his objective. The crowd shared this momentum, tensing up every time Seidman gained possession. He still had 4 to go at the end of the third quarter, with Haverford still up 44-37. 

As the fourth and final quarter began, the student section was stressed on the behalf of not just Seidman, but the entire team. Even though the Fords had been ahead the entire game, the gap was closing up, and the Jaguars were not giving up. They slowly inched up, and so did Seidman, as he scored another basket; he only needed 2 more points.  Finally, when he stepped up to take two free throws, the crowd was still. He sunk the first one, giving both himself and the team more confidence. As he released the ball for the second shot, the entire room froze. Immediate applause. Seidman had made the throw, ultimately making history at the Juenger Gymnasium, as he joined a prestigious group of players before him. 

However, after the short-lasting relief of Seidman’s achievement, Garnet Valley pulled forward, making the score a nail-biting 50-48. As possession of the ball swiftly switched back and forth, Seidman tied it up with a two-point jumper. A few baskets later, Garnet yet again took the lead with free throws by Jake Sniras, leading to a score of 53-52. 

Eventually, with only 3 seconds remaining, Wiener passed the ball to Senior Forward Wil Cascarina, who scored a three, ultimately winning the game for Haverford, and setting the Fords student section on fire. Cascarina later pointed out that “the play didn’t really go how [Coach Heinerichs] drew it up…and [he] just blacked out and shot the ball.” And what a shot it was. The Fords were “going dancing” at the district playoffs, to quote a historic call by Haverford Sports Media Senior Broadcaster Thompson Touhill. After the game, the team made it clear that the win was not only for a playoff seed, but also in honor for the late Coach Essery. 

Going into playoffs, Seidman wants to “leave it all on the court” and “try to prove that [they] can play with the best of the best.” On February 17, the Fords defeated William Tenant High School, and will now face Downingtown West on Tuesday at 7. 


The Haverford Sports Media broadcast can be found here.


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