In Fall 2022, the recently-established New College basketball team provided a place for students to learn the basics of the sport and jump on the courts for a pick-up game or two. While the team’s primary purpose is to be a source of Novocollegian sportsmanship and teamwork, certain members of the club flexed their competitive muscles and participated in an “official” game against the Ringling College of Art and Design (RCAD) team, the Fighting Armadillos.
The game took place on Feb. 10 at the Robert L. Taylor Community Center’s indoor court, which is about a five minute drive away from campus. RCAD volunteered to cover costs in order to make the game feel as real and similar to a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) basketball game as possible. A DJ was hired to announce the players and provide musical atmosphere. The RCAD Dance Team also performed a halftime show and the Fighting Armadillos were sporting their very own crisp white uniforms. The New College team, without uniforms, had its players come to the game wearing mismatched T-shirts of varying shades of blue to represent true Novo spirit.
Both team’s players hustled and tried their best to secure the victory. At halftime, the score was 32-16, in favor of the Fighting Armadillos. After the first half, it looked like the game was going to go to RCAD in a landslide. Despite this, New College played even harder in the second half, with the defense holding the Armadillos to just three points scored in the third quarter. Defense was the name of the game for New College entering the fourth and final quarter, desperately trying to complete the unlikely comeback.
After an already intense and dramatic final quarter, it all came down to the wire: with 16 seconds left, New College coach and Coordinator of Campus Recreation Jacob Brody-Ogborn (‘22) called a timeout. The score was 42-40, still in favor of the Fighting Armadillos. In the huddle, Brody-Ogborn emphasized the importance of getting open and getting a shot up. Exiting the timeout, the crowd was loud and electric. New College inbounded the ball and the Armadillos played tight defense in the final seconds, causing a scramble.
With two and a half seconds left, the ball found the hands of first-year player Bruno Vendrame. After a couple of quick moves, Vendrame put up a heavily contested three-pointer. The buzzer went off as the ball was mid-air. The ball bounced off the backboard and fell into the net as the crowd erupted into cheers and New College was announced the winner of a thrilling battle.
“I felt shocked since I felt like it was going to be off,” Vendrame said. “When I saw it went in, I was surprised and happy but also wanted to stay humble about it since it was a tough game from both sides.”
Managing Editor Isaac Tellechea is also the New College basketball team founder.