Lodi Basketball Stars Return to the Court!

On Dec. 14, former Lodi basketball stars laced up their Nikes once again and stepped onto the Billy Masopust court to do what they do best –Ball! The Orange Team, led by Lodi High School’s very own Coach Romeo, faced off against the Black Team, led by TJMS boys’ basketball coach, Mr. Wilson. Hands were shook, game faces on, it was time to play ball. The tip was won by the Black Team. The first two minutes of the game was predominately defense as no team was able put points on the board. With 6:02 left in the first, Pat Najbar laid in the bucket to give the Black Team an early lead. Minutes later, Coach Romeo hit a three pointer to get the Orange Team on the board. Back and forth action from both teams led to a 15-12 lead at the end of the first quarter for the Black Team.

To start the second quarter, Pat Najbar caught fire from behind the arc with back to back deep three pointers! The Black Team was in control of the game up to this point, as Darren Hessberger used his ball handling skills to drop a defender and lay in the bucket. It was 23-18 the Black squad midway through the second quarter. With time running low, the pass was to Pat Najbar who drained the long three to beat the buzzer! The Black Team entered halftime with a six point lead.

Ersi Bice, the Orange Team’s leading scorer, had the first points of the second half on a silky layup. Coach Romeo then scored a deep three to pull his team within one, knocking on the door of the Black Team’s lead! After some stingy defense, Steve Lopez took the ball to the hole and got the huge and-one to give the Orange Team their first lead of the game! The Orange Team took this momentum into the fourth quarter holding on to a 45-42 lead. The Black Team was outscored 19-10 in the third quarter.

Early in the fourth, tempers flared in this one point game, as Mr Wilson and Coach Romeo exchange some words. Ersi Bice hit a huge three pointer to take a seven point lead with three minutes to go. With time not on their side, Hessberger went to the line with his team trailing 55-50. With one minute to go, Joe Rodriguez, 2015 Lodi High School graduate, nailed a long three pointer to put the nail in the coffin for the Black Team. There will be no story book ending as the Orange Team prevailed over the Black Team 62-56! Coach Romeo was named MVP with his mix of flashy passes, three pointers, and mid game coaching tips. Both teams played their hearts out and that is all that matters! All proceeds made at the front door went towards our Lady Rams basketball team! Thanks to all who came out to support another great Lodi High School event!