Courtside Report: An Instant Classic Coaches Vs. Eighth Graders Basketball Game

March 1, 2024

The Belmont Day School’s iconic basketball game of Coaches vs. Eighth Graders was an incredible battle that came down to the very last seconds. The final score was a razor-thin 57-56 with the coaches defeating the eighth graders in an outstanding matchup.

The MVP for the coaches’ team was Director of Athletics John O’Neill who scored 20+ points and hustled on every possession. Alongside were solid performances from coaches Jade Morris, Alex Tzelnic, and Andrew Bolte. Coach Morris hit some nice mid-range shots and had a key block in the clutch, while Coach Tzelnic had impressive passes, even a few behind the back, and Coach Bolte drained clutch layups down the stretch.

For the eighth graders’ side, Andrew Green, Rami Flummerfelt, Clem Caddrick, and Foster Larrabee set the pace. Andrew led the way with 15+ points, driving for tough layups and nailing three-pointers and mid-range shots. Rami also had an amazing game with monumental shots in the clutch which nearly brought the eighth graders the victory. Clem pulled in a ton of rebounds and scored tough buckets, and Foster hit key threes.

The game started with a back-and-forth affair, but the coaches went on a nice run to end the first half giving them a lead of 30-20. But at halftime, the eighth graders huddled up their team, refocused, and raised their level. Back on the floor in the second half, their passion showed that they wanted to win this game. Great job by the eighth grade coaches Annika Vittal and Zach Cash for helping the team get dialed back in and making timely substitutions.

The eighth graders started the second half on fire with a blistering hot 24-0 run! The team clamped down the coaches until they finally scored after almost eight minutes. Andrew, Rami, Luke Brenneman, and Yaseen Saeed made threes, tough shots, and nice fast break buckets. The eighth graders flipped the script and led 44-30 with about twelve minutes left in the game.

Coach O’Neill returned to the court later in the second half with a mission to get them the W. He notched the coaches’ team’s first points of that half and scored a series of buckets. Head of School Brendan Largay and Josh Sussman also had some big points to help even up the game.

The score was 51-50 after the coaches’ 21-6 run giving them back the lead with under three minutes left. A fast-break layup by Coach Bolte raised it to 53-50. Eighth grader Andrew rallied back with a clutch bucket to cut the lead to 53-52. On the next possession, Coach O’Neill put in a back door layup to put the coaches back up by three at 55-52. Then Andrew hit another tough layup at the basket to make it a one-point game with a minute remaining!

The coaches and eighth graders were on their feet chanting “Defense” and “Offense.” But after a turnover, Rami hit a huge shot in the clutch for the eighth grade team with a mid range bucket. The eighth graders went crazy with their team now up one 56-55 with under thirty seconds left.

The ball was inbounded to coach O’Neill. He dribbled into one-on-one coverage and drained the most clutch shot of the ball game, a step-back mid-range shot to give the coaches the lead of 57-56! With 10 seconds remaining, the ball was inbounded to Andrew who passed it to Rami who attempted a mid-range shot that was rejected by Coach Morris! The ball was sent into the air, and the buzzer sounded with the coaches winning an incredible game!

There could not have been a more thrilling ending to this well-played, passionate game. It may have been a heartbreaker for the eighth graders, but they should hold their heads high after playing with great heart and determination. The game was an intense, fierce, and fun contest that came down to the very end. What a game! Congratulations to both teams!

– Suryavir Nallari-Jhala, sixth grader and courtside reporter

By John O'Neill, Director of Athletics |

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