Monroe Catholic Basketball community honors seniors ahead of conference tournament
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Several seniors competed in the final game at Boileau Hall Saturday, as the Monroe Catholic Basketball community recognized the 2021 graduating class. Some of the seniors celebrated by filling up the bucket - while others got their moment in another way -but they all celebrated with a win.
Hosting the Valdez Buccaneers, the Monroe girls honored Cela Stepovich and Matteah Felix. Felix, battling injury, earned the start for the Rams and knocked down her only shot of the game on a bum ankle before being subbed out, garning a round of applause for the crowd.
“It was actually really funny because I knew I can’t jump so then I just shot and I was like, ‘oh okay,’ but it was mostly a surprise,” Felix said, who joined Monroe her sophomore season. “But then I was also super sad because I am going to miss seeing like our whole basketball family that I have developed here.”
The very next points of the game came from fellow senior Cela Stepovich, who knocked down a corner three-pointer to give the Rams a spark.
“It meant a lot because all of these girls, I have been best friends with them forever, so to have one last season with them was nice.” said Stepovich, who has been a part of Catholic Schools of Fairbanks since kindergarten.
Those five points sparked a 57-30 Aurora Conference win where the soon-to-be-seniors, Shelby Eidenmiller (21 points) and Katie Bast (13) of the junior class, led the way offensively. The Bucs were anchored by 13 points from Reese King.
The Rams enter this week’s Aurora Conference tournament as the #1 seed, facing the winner of the (#4) Delta Huskies and the (#5) Eielson Ravens at 12:30 p.m. The (#3) Hutchison Hawks square off against the (#6) Galena Hawks, with the winner taking on (#2) Valdez at 9:15 p.m. Thursday. The Aurora Conference tournament at North Pole High School will wrap up with the championships game at 8 p.m. Friday.
The Monroe Catholic boys celebrated five seniors in Sean Conwell Jr., Jack Snow, Tommy Bast, Quinn McHenry and Jase McCullough, whose calf injury kept him from competing. However, the point guard did receive his senior night moment, taking the opening tip-off before hobbling out of bounds on one leg, earning cheers from supporters.
“It was really respectful, I really appreciate the Valdez coach for doing that,” McCullough said of the gesture. “It was a lot of fun, I am going to remember this for the rest of my life, and I am glad I got to spend it with my teammates.”
Sean Conwell Jr., better known for his talented arm as the football team’s quarterback, joined the Monroe Community this year and was immediately accepted.
“It is definitely the best I have ever been [a part of],” the senior said after the game. “Everybody is just a big family, we all stick each other up and it is something I have never been a part of, so it is really heartwarming and I definitely thank God for that too.”
Jack Snow has spent his share of time at Boileau Hall and expressed what his emotions were heading into his final game at the historic gym.
“It was exciting for sure, I was excited to play with the boys one last time, but it was definitely sad knowing that I am not going to be able to play with [them] anymore, so mixed emotions for sure.”
Tommy Bast’s younger brother Billy checked in for Tommy as he received his applause, displaying the family community at Monroe.
“I mean, we bleed Monroe, that is what it is,” Bast said, who’s sister Katie plays on the girl’s team. “Really the community, there is no negative energy here, it is all just play hard and get better.”
The senior scoring leader and future Sonoma State Seawolf, Quinn McHenry, naturally led all scorers with 18 points and described how the Monroe Basketball community over laps with the school.
“It is just like a whole big family honestly,” he said. “Everybody knows each other and takes care of each other and like we are all together, so it is the same.”
Monroe went on to dominate all four quarters in an 83-28 win, with Bast (14 points), Trevor Mahler (10) and Evan Puryear (10) contributing to the offensive end. The number one seeded Rams head into the Aurora Conference tournament with a bye, awaiting the winner of the (#4) Delta Huskies and the (#5) Eielson Ravens at 9 a.m. Thursday. The (#3) Hutchison Hawks will take on the (#6) Galena Hawks at 10:45 a.m., with the winner facing (#2) Valdez in the second round. The tournament will conclude at North Pole High School Saturday, with the Championship set for Friday at 6 p.m.
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