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Varsity Basketball: Rams v. Mount Vernon (2/17/12)

by Kyle Unger

Game at Mount Vernon,  game #20

After defeating the No. 17 seed Scarsdale in the first round of the playoffs, your Clarkstown North Rams had been hosted by the Mount Vernon Knights, the No. 8 ranked team in New York, the No. 1 ranked team in Section 1 Conference 2 -B, and No. 2 ranked in their State Division. So on the cold Friday night of February 17th, also the birthday of NBA Basketball legend Michael Jordan, the Knights were seen as the favorite at home. Right out from the start, the Rams started out in a high pressured man-to-man coverage. The Knights consisted of a couple potential Division 1 college basketball players like Isaiah Cousins, named “Mr. Basketball” in the state of New York. Going into their second playoff game, the pressure was building up on senior Ethan Santore (#15). The captain was hoping to continue playing in his final season in high school basketball. He and fellow junior captain Zac Jarrett (#5) lead the Rams to attempt an incredible upset, keeping the Knights within a single digit deficit heading into the second quarter. The Knights broke out into a couple of scoring runs, increasing the deficit by nearly double of what the Rams had scored. Even when almost out of reach, the Rams vowed to leave everything they had on the floor, demanding respect of the Mount Vernon players. The Rams came out with the same intensity as the first half, but the results were quite similar. It was a tough loss to end the season with for the Rams, and a painful last game for Ethan Santore, as he said his good-byes and thanks to coaches Daniel Goldberg, Leroy Plaskett, and Kenny Amparo. As he was taken out of the game for the final time, teammates lined up to congratulate Santore on his diligence, his dedication, and his well-earned respect from the past four years. We found out that Clarkstown HS South was to play Mount Vernon in the playoffs next, and we wish them luck to pull out a win. It was a tough season for the Rams, but they managed to result in a 7-13 record and they’re only going to get better with experience. To wrap it up, a final thanks to all the coaches of the freshman, junior varsity, and varsity teams for both the boy’s and girl’s teams of the 2011-2012 season.

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Has Politics Become a Joke?

By Dan Friedman

Anyone who has been following the latest election cycle has experienced the phenomenon that is Vermin Supreme. This self-proclaimed warlock was a featured member of New Hampshire’s Lesser-Known Democratic Candidates Presidential Forum in which he promised free ponies for everyone and ran on the platform of good dental hygiene and preparedness for the inevitable zombie invasion. While there is certainly no chance of Mr. Supreme ever seeing the inside of the White House, many pundits criticized Mr. Supreme as making a mockery out of the political process.

However, making light of the political process is something America desperately needs. In this political cycle in particular, the American people are subjected to vicious attack ads criticizing candidates. Politicians have started taking themselves too seriously, becoming almost robotic, just the same talking points repeated ad infinitum. This is why candidates like Vermin Supreme are needed, to give America that laugh amidst all this political fighting, to make us remember that at the end of the day, these politicians are just people like you and me.

Interestingly enough, joke candidates play similar roles in other political systems as well. For example in Hungary, The Two Tailed Dog Party gained public support with its platform of free beer for everyone! In Britain, Screaming Lord Sutch, also ran for office on the platform of having pubs open all day. (I’m sensing a theme here.) These candidates are found worldwide because as politics devolves into factions of the populace fighting with each other, it is humour that can bridge the partisan gap. That’s why hopefully candidates like Vermin Supreme will never lose their valuable place in our political system.

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Varsity Basketball: Rams v. Scarsdale (playoff game)

by Kyle Unger

Playoff game vs. Scarsdale, game #19

For their first playoff game of 2012, the  Rams, finishing their season with a disliked 6-12 record, were No. 16 seed as they faced off against the No. 17 seed Scarsdale. Kevin Devaney of MSG Varsity was covering the game to witness such an intense elimination game. As always, the Rams came out with such pressure, forcing Scarsdale to turnover here and there, giving Rams’ players better opportunities to score. In the first half alone, Sal Barbetto scored 17 of his 22 points to give the Rams an edge heading into halftime.

Within the first six minutes of the third quarter, the Ram’s 12 point lead had diminished, allowing Scarsdale to tie the score. In the fourth, Scarsdale eventually took a ten point lead. The game was the thriller of the season for the Rams because of clutch free-throws, shots, and turnovers. The Rams felt the pressure of ending their season early, but quickly responded with two clutch possessions. Brendan Hendrickson contained his concentration when being fouled as he was going up for a lay-up and completing the three-point play with the free throw. Zac Jarrett had the game changing play when he immediately stole the basketball from the Scarsdale point guard, then went up for a lay-up, was fouled, and made it for an And-One. He also completed the three point play with his foul shot. Scarsdale then missed a foul shot, rebounded, but took a less recommended attempt of a put-back shot, and then Jarrett once he had the ball with 5.4 seconds left on the clock. The score was dead-locked at 66. He challenged the butterflies for probably the most pressured free throws Jarrett had ever encountered by making both, giving them the lead 68-66. Scarsdale took it down the court one last time, but fell short as the Rams advanced to the next round of the playoffs.

The top scorers of the game were sophomore Salvatore Barbetto with 22 points and junior Zac Jarrett with 21 as they both had a couple of assists as well. Brendan Hendrickson also had a notable performance, grabbing clutch rebounds, and scoring 12 points. Now on Friday, February 17, the Rams are hosted by the Knights of Mount Vernon. We all know it’ll be a tough game to pull out but who says that Mount Vernon can’t have a bad game? Come support your team Friday night!

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Varsity Basketball: Rams v. Golden Knights (2/10/12)

by Kyle Unger

[Game#18] For their season finale, the Rams squared off against the Golden Knights of Nanuet for their Senior Night, on Friday, 2/10. The crowd was a huge factor, bringing pressure to the Rams as the Golden Knights were looking for their first win of 2012. The Rams came out slow as Nanuet gained the lead in the first quarter with a half-court buzzer beater. The half-court shot kept the momentum towards Nanuet’s favor as they led by eight at halftime. As the underdog, the Golden Knights didn’t miss a single shot in the second quarter, and practically repeated this in the third. The energy for the Rams was diminishing by each quarter, as a possibility for a win seemed to get smaller and smaller. The Rams had dropped their fifth loss in a row, finishing with a record of 6-12. Nanuet’s win snapped a 12-game losing streak. Playoffs begin next week so come watch and give the Rams support!

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Varsity Basketball: Rams v. Vikings (2/8/12)

by Kyle Unger

[Game 17] On the night of Wednesday, February 8, the Rams re-matched their bitter rival, the Clarkstown South Vikings. At home, the Vikings have had great success, and fans outnumbered the Ram’s crowd. It was South’s Senior Night as they admired their eight seniors who were heading off for college in the fall, including Mike McCahey, Kevin Giordano, and Franky Tucek. Both the Vikings and Rams brought out great intensity with quick, patient defense. The Rams were right with them, fighting the disadvantage as the visiting team. With the underdog Rams trailing 27-24 by half-time, the crowd and players imagined this being a definite possibility that it could be a close finish. The Rams have been known to come out of the locker room slow in the third quarter, and Wednesday night, they fell into the same hole. Immediately, the Vikings scored six unanswered points to give them momentum towards a possible victory for their last game of the regular season. Within the first 2 minutes of the quarter, the deficit elongated to ten. The Rams were outscored in both halves of the game, in fact, every quarter. In the second half alone, the Vikings lead 43-24. Adding those two together resulted in the routing of South over North 70-48. Only Zac Jarrett scored in double digit points with 13, as the Rams lost their fourth game in a row, and eleventh on the season, with a record of 6-11. The Rams play their final game on Friday, February 10 at Nanuet. With a win against the Golden Knights, the Rams would result in achieving a higher seed in the playoffs than they had received last year. Come support the Rams as their 2012 season is coming to an end!