Written By: Sophia Ortiz-Heaney, Isabel Mateus
On Tuesday, November 29, 2022 the Port Chester community could be seen gathering in the stands of the new high school gym. The reason for this crowd? It was the annual Midnight Madness: a basketball game between Port Chester teachers and the Port Chester Police Department.
The high school gymnasium was booming with sound, a hyped crowd, squeaking sneakers, cheering cheerleaders, and the bouncing of the basketball. Excitement ran through the crowd in seeing their favorite teachers compete against their local law enforcement. Both teams were practicing before the sound of the buzzer– doing layup lines and forming their dynamic as a team. The buzzer sounded around 5:00pm, calling for the national anthem to be played. Then, with the game underway, the teachers won possession of the ball on the opening tip-off.
Both teams brought the heat right off the bat. The first basket of the game was made by teacher Jeffery Kravitz, with the assist from Micheal Bonanno. The score remained extremely close throughout the first half, with the teachers initially in the lead. By halftime, the score was 18-11, with the Police leading the Teachers. Both sides went to regroup at halftime, but one feeling was clear on each player’s face: excitement. There were several memorable highlights from both teams in the first half of the game:
- Officer Anthony Rappoccio, dribbles past three teacher defenders and performs an effortless layup, scoring the first two points for the police.
- The teachers were facing some serious defensive skills from the police. When the teachers were finding it difficult to get close to the basket, Bonanno scored a 3-pointer with a quick pass from Micheal Stabile.
- Rappoccio receives the ball while running along the left wing. Facing two defending teachers, he spins outward and tosses the ball in the air, scoring the last points of the half.
The second half was tense, and by far the most exciting portion of the game. The crowd was hype and the players were feeding off of their energy. The teachers worked hard in attempts to overcome the point gap while the policemen worked hard to maintain it. The game resumed with the teachers having possession. While the policemen were winning at this point, the game was still up for grabs.
- Policeman Yovanni Rogo makes a layup, dribbling past four defenders and making the score 24-12, Police.
- Steve Barbara shoots from the 3-point line, causing the ball to bounce off the backboard. Waiting near the basket, Anthony Rappoccio jumps and sets the ball like a volleyball right into the basket.
- Guidance counselor Darwin Gramajo catches an airball from one of his teammates. He then dribbles behind the basket into the paint. He turns around while jumping to shoot in one swift motion, advancing his team to 21 points.
- Seeing that he was wide open, Santos Avila passed the ball to Justin Thomas, giving Thomas the opportunity to make a three-point shot. The amazing shot put the teachers back in the game, with the policemen now only winning by six.
- Santos intercepts a pass and quickly passes the ball to Bonanno, who sprints across the court and scores a beautiful layup, despite the attempt of his tall defender. The teachers draw even closer.
- With 17 seconds left on the clock, Officer Clayton Adams finalizes the score with a one-point foul shot.
Officer Rappoccio and Mr. Bonanno were the MVPs of this year’s annual game, with both of them having the most possession and energy. In the end, the police officers won this year’s Battle of the Blues, with a final score of 37-34. Both teams played a great, competitive game, creating the perfect event for the school to come together. Not only was it an entertaining event that people from all over town went to see, but it also showed off Port Chester’s strong sense of community.
Off the Court
This annual teacher versus policemen basketball game was coordinated by teachers Jeffery Kravitz and Micheal Stabile in collaboration with the high school’s Varsity boy’s basketball coach, Manny Martinez. Their goal was to raise money for the boy’s basketball team and create hype surrounding the start of basketball season. However, to the teachers and policemen, it was much more than that.
“The village needs to see that teachers and the police are working together for the best outcome for our school community and the Port Chester Community,” said Mr. Kravitz. Proving their support for our schools, the Port Chester Police Department not only participated in this fundraising event, but they also generously donated $500 to our PC basketball booster clubs.
For others, this was a sentimental game.
“It’s only right that I come back here to Port Chester High School. I graduated from here– it’s been twelve years already.” Andy Rappoccio says. “This is always fun – meeting the teachers, old and new, it’s always a great time.”
For many of the school staff and the police officers, this annual game is an excuse to bond with their coworkers outside of work. In Mr. Kravitz’s words, “Being able to see everyone come together as different entities of the school. But we are like one team, and for us to build the chemistry over the last few years and now building that chemistry on the basketball court, it’s fun to just kinda like put our teacher hat on the side and be more like a team. A family.” Agreeing, Mr. Stabile says “We’re definitely closer with all the people we’ve played with.”
Although the focus of the night was the game between the teachers and policemen, the heart of the game lay in the crowd. “I was surprised how many people showed up, cheering, supporting both sides. It was definitely my favorite part.” Officer Rappoccio shared.
Not only was this year’s Battle of the Blues an entertaining event that people from all over town went to see, but it also showed off Port Chester’s strong sense of community. The village came together on the night of November 29th to prove Troy Bolten’s famous words true: “We’re all in this together.”