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Shot heard ‘round the court: Devils beat Patriots on Silent Night

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Tobey Schwartz ’27

During a typical Springside Chestnut Hill basketball game, you can expect lots of crowd noise after a score or a big stop, especially against a rival like Germantown Academy. But on one day, for one game (though usually only through one quarter), all that noise stops. That game is known as Silent Night, and despite the moniker, the game is most often anything but.

A yearly occasion, Silent Night has been an SCH tradition for quite some time. In addition to knowing its proper name, there are some important rules one must understand before watching the game itself. The first, and where the namesake itself comes from, is that all SCH fans must remain completely silent until their team scores ten points. This is non-negotiable – even if there’s a crazy block or a posterizing dunk – SCH fans can’t cheer until the tenth point is scored.

This same rule doesn’t apply to opposing fans. They can scream as much as they want, for as long as they want, and often do. Sometimes having no crowd backing can pose a real challenge for the Blue Devils, especially if they find themselves behind early. But the energy created when they cross that ten-point threshold can also provide the momentum the team needs to shine.

The final “rule” of Silent Night is more of a tradition. It is customary that Blue Devils fans wear some sort of costume to the game, turning the stadium more or less into a Halloween party. But no matter how you dress, know that Silent Night games rarely disappoint. Most feature a spectacular finish – often with a win by only one point. And this year’s game was no exception. 

This year, the famous night coincided with the Blue Devil’s opening game of their Inter-Ac season. Junior Kam Waters considers the Inter-Ac League to be the “most underrated league in the area” a fact that brings quite a lot of energy to the games. Waters’ assertion seemed fitting, as the game not only had energy, but might have been one of the Blue Devils’ best basketball matchups of the year.

The Devil’s opponent was the 3-3 Germantown Patriots who, despite having some struggles to start off their season, were still quite a competitive team. Led by Junior Bryce Rollerson, most of GA’s losses came by a narrow margin. Given the Patriots’ talent, the Devils came into the game knowing they would have their hands full.

GA seemed to show up with something to provide. Their offense exploded following the buzzer, taking advantage of the Devil’s silence to jump out to an early lead. But all that changed when the Devils, down 7-12 with around two minutes left in the first quarter, ran a play that found Senior Ryan Kull in the corner to knock down a three-pointer. Sinking the shot not only cut the lead down to two, but also provided the opportunity to awaken the Blue Devils crowd to its fullest potential.

The Patriots quickly rebounded from Kull’s energy-producing three-pointer to go on a run throughout the second quarter, taking a major lead going into the halftime break and putting the Devils in a bind as the game wound down.

To say the Devils came out swinging would be an understatement. Emerging from the break, the team found motivation from their seniors, who were determined to win their last Silent Night. Despite fighting back, the Devils found themselves down 5 points with 1:43 left in the game. But with the game on the line and the crowd in an uproar, SCH’s seniors took over. 

Kull cut the lead to 3 with a shot off the glass, followed by an impressive defensive play and rebound from Ron Brown. Cam Burns forced his way to the basket and drew a foul before hitting both free throws to cut the lead to 1. Unfortunately, the Patriots weren’t quitting, and got to the line with a chance to extend the lead back to 3. That is, of course, until the SCH crowd had their say.

With GA’s shooter at the line, Blue Devils fans roared, screaming their hearts out in a best-chance effort at stopping the shooter. Their shouts were more than sufficient as GA missed two free-throws, opening the door for the Devils to seal the game. Kull then drew another foul and hit both free throws to give the Devils a 1 point lead. Again the Patriots refused to be stopped, with Rollerson making a layup to retake the lead. Things got worse when the Devils turned the ball over to set up GA with what should have been an easy layup. The key word being should.

Junior Kam Waters, who was facing a two-on-one situation, blocked both layup attempts from two different shooters and allowed his teammates to come down with the rebound off the miss. SCH was once again fouled and due to being in the bonus had two more free-throw attempts. The Devils sank both and found themselves clutching on to a 1-point lead. With 5.5  seconds remaining, it all came down to playing defense on Rollerson. As Rollerson got Waters with a pump-fake, he went up for a three to give the Patriots a 2 point lead… and missed. The rebound was quickly secured by SCH, and once more the Devils got fouled and were sent to the line.

In a true sense of irony, the game ended as it started— with silence. The SCH crowd was hushed as Brown hit the first of his two free throws, letting the Devils complete their comeback and securing a Silent Night ending for the ages— complete with thunderous applause.

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About the Contributor
Tobey Schwartz ’27
Tobey Schwartz ’27, Photographer
Tobey Schwartz loves sports photography more than life itself. When he is not taking pictures, you can find him on the ice rink, stopping pucks, dressed up in goalie gear. Tobey is a funny and caring person with a huge personality.
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    Edwina LeeFeb 12, 2024 at 12:43 pm

    What a visual! I felt like I was there for every play and cheer! The Silent Night tradition is a novel idea that underscores SCH unity and loyalty to the efforts of the players and the school. Well Done!

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  • S

    Stokes TateFeb 9, 2024 at 12:06 pm

    I loved reading this. All the specific details made me feel as if I was in the moment.

    Reply