Unified Bulldogs takes game once more


Brooklyn Carrillo

Unified Bulldogs is split into two teams for the second basketball match. Unified Black vs Unified White go head to head

March 18 was an eventful day, as spirit week ended in a bang as the Unified Bulldogs had their first basketball game that other students were able to watch and support the students with special needs, if their teacher had RSVP’d prior to the game. 

Unified Bulldogs is an all inclusive club that has been “blurring the line between Students with Special Needs and General Education Students” as said in their Instagram bio.

“It was awesome, not only for our students but also for students who are newer to campus who might not know about [Unified Bulldogs],” Felicia Mata, adviser of Unified Bulldogs said. “It’s an amazing experience and it was good for everyone, including our staff, to see it.” 

The game was divided into two games, one during third and the other during fourth period. The first game they played against Camarillo, but unfortunately, Camarillo was unable to stay for the second game. As a result, the second game instead  included faculty and was split into Unified White and Unified Black. 

As students filled  the stands in the gym, both teams could be seen practicing while the cheer and dance team were seen rowding up the crowd in one corner of the stands. Once the bell rang, both teams were called down for a “spirit tunnel”. Unified Black went first, running through the tunnel made by the dance team as their names were announced. Unified White mirrored them but with the cheer team. Students cheered on their peers and friends, yelling especially loud when their teacher was called. 

“I was very nervous but [this] was to showcase our athletes,” junior Logan Krause said. 

Each team consisted of two faculty members and three students when on the court. Assistant principal Dr. Scott McNutt was one faculty member who stepped in for Unified White. Social science teacher Mike Gianelli stepped in and played for Unified Black as well. 

“I absolutely love [Unified Bulldogs], I love getting to [everyone] and all their different fun personalities,” Krause said. “Getting to meet people who I don’t usually get to meet.” 

The game started with students cheering for their teachers and friends, Unified Black made the first basket thanks to junior Jaden Luong. With only a minute left, it did not look good for Unified White, but luckily junior Kara Virs was able to tie up the two teams. However, Luong ended up scoring again for Unified Black right as the first quarter ended with a final score of 2-6.

“It was awesome, not only for our students but also for students who are newer to campus who might not know about [Unified Bulldogs],” Felicia Mata, adviser of Unified Bulldogs said.

Both teams switched for all new players, Virs for White stayed while Luong and freshman Brianna Garcia stayed for Black, still with two faculty members and three students per team. Player #3 made the first shot of the second quarter but Luong was able to bring Black in the lead again. With thirty seconds left, junior Andrew Reid is able to get another basket for White, causing the audience to cheer loudly as the game took a turn. 

The dance team performed at halftime, helping engage the crowd. A few other students also passed out candy to the crowd. Once the dance team was finished, a handful of cheerleaders did a small performance of their own, chanting a cheer in front of the crowd before the third quarter started. 

The teams changed again, Virs, Luong, and Garcia stayed in the game. Garcia made a basket for Black and the audience erupted in applause. Player Virs made three baskets throughout the quarter and with two minutes left the score was 12-10, white in the lead. Garcia scored again, and with 30 seconds left on the clock freshman Jeffery Holly scored again putting white in the lead once more, 14-12 was the final score of the third quarter. 

As the final quarter started, students were raising their voices in excitement, cheering on their friends and teachers. Sounds of disappointment were heard whenever someone missed. Garcia scored once again for Black, tying up both teams. The last few minutes became a back and forth struggle of a game as Virs scored one after the other. Nevertheless,with 20 seconds left Virs was able to get the last shot and made it, giving Unified White the win with a final score of 22-18. 

“To actually be on the floor was magical. Typical model peers, general ed students interacting and encouraging the special ed students and I really got to see the lines blurred between the two in the actual game,” referee for the game Melissa Lewis said. “I also think that it was awesome to have the staff involved because there was a lot of excitement in their eyes that I was able to see.”