The Student News Site of Pembroke Pines Charter High School


The Student News Site of Pembroke Pines Charter High School


The Student News Site of Pembroke Pines Charter High School


Jags are Regional Champs, but the “job’s not finished”

“Nah Nah Nah, Hey, Hey, Hey, Goodbye!” Those were the last audible words heard from the overflowing bleachers full of parents, students, and supporters in the Jaguars Den; as starting guard Maximo Ortega stepped up to the free throw line. He slowly drew in a deep breath, taking in the moment, and made the game sealing free throw putting the Varsity Jaguars up 64-57 in an suspenseful bout against the St. Thomas Aquinas Raiders. The crowd roared as fans rushed the court to celebrate not only the win, but what was to come for the team. The Jaguars are regional champs, and will now be headed back to Lakeland after 4 years of trials and tribulations to compete for a state championship.

From the first whistle to the last, there was nothing more than an exciting aura of energy that consumed each and every individual in the gym, and gave the boy’s varsity team a true playoff atmosphere. Diego Leon, junior, overwhelmingly expressed, “The energy was honestly out of this world, I haven’t been to a game like that in what feels like forever. I can’t even put into words how to describe it.” 

Even though, all things were in place for Charter to take home the regional championship, the Jags knew that the Raiders were not just going to let them walk away with it that easily. The game stayed relatively close, as each team traded buckets with each other throughout the first and second quarter. However, the boys all shared the same mindset which led to their victory, that they can’t not lose.

Starting senior guard, Solomon Hughes, shared before the game that “ The only option is to win! I’m not going home; this is not my last game.” He and the rest of his teammates all shared that “Kobe mentality”, and it truly showed on the floor last night.

“Not making this my last game as a senior was the only thing I had on my mind.” That’s what starting forward, Jeremy Elyzee, had to say about his mentality coming into the game. Jeremy would end up being a crucial role in the Jags third quarter run, showing his true scoring ability by getting three and-1’s in a row, and showcasing his mid-range shooting. He would end the game with a double-double leading the Jags in scoring with 28 points and dominating the glass with 12 rebounds.

Also, leading the charge for the Jaguars was Joshua (Joshie) Harris, who also shined on the court with his own double-double having 10 points and 18 rebounds. Alongside him was Maximo Ortega who contributed by dropping 13 points, which included timely three pointers and clutch free throws to close out the game. Zemari Days, Ramez Zayed, and Solomon Hughes also carried their weight on court with their defensive presence and assists.

At the sound of the buzzer a huge mosh pit flooded the court, and Jaguars became regional champions, and state contenders. The players were ushered out of the gym, where Jeremy gave an inspiring and electrifying speech to the team. “We know that this not going to be easy, we ain’t never won nothing before. For some of us this our last year me, Joshie (Joshua Harris), Solomon, Mez (Ramez Zayed); it’s time we lay it all out y’all boys.”

The players were then brought back into the gym where they were greeted with cheers and applause. Each player then cut down a piece of the basketball net, as a souvenir that they may treasure for the rest of their lives, as family and friends surrounded the hoop to take pictures and videos of the new regional champions.

On March 7, the Jaguars will make the trip to Lakeland, FL to play against Ponte Vedra High School in the state semi-finals. The Jaguars have come a long way, going from a 16-11 record last season to a 22-4 winning record this season. The two week span between now, and the challenge that awaits them in Lakeland is what the team is most worried about. 

Coach Dave Roca conveyed his thoughts saying, “To secure a basketball state title in the next two weeks, it’s important to intensify training, analyze opponents’ strengths and weaknesses, and adapt strategies accordingly. Staying mentally sharp, prioritizing teamwork, and ensuring peak performance through rest and recovery will be crucial in our pursuit for victory.”

The team feels supercharged and just overall excited to play on such a big stage. “Lakeland is special, somewhat magical and anything can happen.” Coach Opalka added, reminiscing on the great times he’s had there before. 

After becoming district and regional champions, there is still a hard road ahead of them. The team however, is locked in and ready for the trials they will continue to face. So although there is much to celebrate, there is still unfinished business that needs to be taken care of, or as senior guard Ramez Zayed likes to put it the “job’s not finished.”

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About the Contributors
Dylan Williams
Dylan Williams, Sports Assistant
Hi! My name is Dylan Williams, and this is my first year as the Sports Assistant for the CHAT! I’m in the 11th grade and I'm apart of the Boys Varsity Basketball Team. However, I have gained an interest and been involved in journalism throughout my high school career, starting from freshman year. I’m honored to be a part of the CHAT, and can’t wait to get writing! Contact me: [email protected]
Noah Buran
Noah Buran, Photo Staff
Hi! My name is Noah Buran. I'm currently a junior. This year is my first year of the CHAT, I'm a part of the photography and videography team. I have been a photographer for roughly three and a half years. I am looking forward to spending my junior year as a part of the CHAT. If you need to contact me please feel free to email me at [email protected].

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    KerenMar 8, 2024 at 12:35 PM

    It looked like an amazing game!!