Simpson’s strong second half helps Prep basketball defeat McDowell


February 21, 2017

The Prep-McDowell rivalry is like no other. The student sections go crazy. Emotions run high on the court. And students exchange comments Twitter. No matter what side of the rivalry you are on, it’s hard to deny it is as fierce as any in Erie.

“It has been a great four years playing against them because these games really bring out everyone’s full potential” said senior Jaryn Simpson.

After Prep won the first game at PVEC 55-49, the rematch was bound to be a showdown at McDowell. McDowell started off the game with a quick 9-0 run, but Prep did not back down. Simpson started the Ramblers off with a 3, and Adam Upperman followed that with two more 3s. By this time the cheering section was alive. Starting off the game off with five 3-pointers had the crowd buzzing. From there on it was a back and forth affair. Prep had the lead for the majority of the game, but it was never a comfortable lead.

Bruce Fagan dominated down low for the Ramblers, blocking many shots and putting the ball into the hoop when he got the chance. Fagen said, “Playing against McDowell is one of the greatest experiences in Erie. Both student bodies are in full force and the atmosphere is crazy.”

During the game the McDowell cheering section and players thought that it would be a good idea to try to get into Simpson’s head by chanting, “overrated” and “you are not that good.” The Trojan players were talking trash to him as well. Rambler nation knew that McDowell was wrong, and that it wasn’t a good idea. So, after scoring only 3 points in the first half, Simpson went off for 18 points in the second half, hitting several clutch shots. His performance made the whole Prep student section go crazy and made McDowell pay for their chants towards him.

“McDowell players on the court trash talking and getting in my face, I just laughed and my attack mode turned on,” Simpson said. “I told my coach that they really had messed up by doing this because they woke me up.”

The 3rd and 4th quarter still went back and forth, with Prep holding a lead for about 80 percent of the half. The Trojans were able to stay in the game due to their 3-point shooting, but it wasn’t enough. The Ramblers were able to keep the lead and hit many clutch free throws at the end of the game to seal the win. For the seniors it was very emotional because this was their last game/section against McDowell. “It is honestly very sad to say this was my last game against our rival McDowell,” Simpson said.

All in all, emotions were high and bragging rights were at stake for the last game in this rivalry. At the end of the game Prep was going crazy as the Trojans were hanging their heads. The “sixth man” ran onto the court and “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond started to play. It seemed that the McDowell side thought the Prep students were going to say something other than “Let’s go Prep” as they cut the music right before that part. But the Ramblers just kept singing and living in the moment.

“My  favorite part of the game was immediately after beating them on their home court,” Simpson said. “Our sixth man greeted us on the court in a congratulations. Jumping and celebrating a win with my fellow brothers is a moment I can’t forget.”

All of the Prep seniors played well in their final contest against McDowell. Bruce Fagan had many blocks, key rebounds, and some key free throws. The rally crew was also very emotional as this would be their last section against McDowell.

“It was nice to be able to see my brother Jaryn play as well as he did to get the last win against McDowell,” said senior rally crew member Lucian Cuzzola.

I, Trey Deitrick, am very happy that the seniors were able to take the lead in this last game. Bruce, Mark, and Jaryn all played great games. Also Adam Upperman is going to be a very key player next year as he already is this year. But I would like to take my time to thank Jaryn for “balling out” and making my senior year that much better. Jaryn and I have been best friends since 3rd grade and have always had each other’s backs. It was amazing to see him drop 21 points, especially after all of the overrated talk. It was a great win for the Ramblers, and I don’t think anyone would accuse Jaryn of being overrated now.

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