Senior Night is always emotional.
The Berlin girl’s basketball team has taken Senior Night to another level of emotions.
Last year on Senior Night, the players wore pink shirts and raised money for the American Cancer Society in memory of the late mom of player Jess Szczepanik. Her mother Diane Szczepanik died of breast cancer when Jess was a freshman.
This year, the team will wear yellow t-shirts and raise money for 8-year-old Skylar Caswell. She has spina bifida and is restricted to a wheelchair but is a regular at the girl’s basketball games.
Some of the juniors, Ashley Malloy, Kailene Rampone and Courtney Trzasko took the leadership role in organizing the Senior Night festivities.
“We are going to wear yellow shirts for spina bifida,” said Malloy, Berlin’s leading scorer. “We are going to sell ribbons for $1 and we’re hoping to raise money to help with the medical bills for Sky.”
According to Wikipedia, Spina bifida is a developmental congenital disorder caused by the incomplete closing of the embryonic neural tube. Some vertebrae overlying the spinal cord are not fully formed and remain unfused and open. If the opening is large enough, this allows a portion of the spinal cord to protrude through the opening in the bones.
Friday night, the team raised money for the American Heart Association.
Last year’s Senior Night seemed a natural but how did the juniors come up with the theme for this year?
“DD Barrett is a senior and she is really close to Skylar,” Malloy said. “Skylar has had it tough but she has always found a way to get to the games and is an inspiration for us. We all know what she has and understand that things aren’t easy for her. We hope we can put a smile on her face for a little while. We play hard for each other but for her too.”
The pre-game ceremonies will start in between the junior varsity and varsity games and are sure to be emotional once again.
“I think it will be emotional because DD and the girls are so close to Sky,” Malloy said. “We are a very close team and we want to send these seniors out on a great note.”
Berlin is 16-3 and 13-0 in the CCC South heading into the game Monday night at home against Plainville.
All of the graduating seniors will be honored with their parents before the varsity game starts.