The players had been talking about it amongst themselves for weeks.
Wednesday night, it finally happened … and it couldn’t have gone better for the Viera High girls basketball team and its five seniors.
Tatiana Stephens had a game-high 17 points, Casi Ramirez – in her first game back since being injured last season – had 12 points and the Hawks celebrated Senior Night with a 64-14 victory over the visiting Merritt Island Mustangs.
“It was really special because some of them I’ve played with for the past three years and they’re my best friends,” senior center Morgan Mordas said. “It was really good to have a good win tonight and some fun with the seniors.”
Framed jerseys were presented to Viera’s seniors -- Mordas, Stephens, Ramirez, Avery Rouhoff and Elaine Bell -- prior to Wednesday night’s game.
Viera coach Josh Carmer started all five seniors against the Mustangs and not only gave them extensive playing time, but also a special treat.
“It was super fun. We got to call plays for the first half,” Mordassaid. “I called defenses, Cass called offenses.
“I think we had a lot more energy tonight because it was Senior Night. We were all communicating. We’ve talked about Senior Night for weeks so we were all super excited.”
Bell, a transfer from New York, had 12 points on the night. Mordas and junior Jacquelin both had seven. Rouhoff had five points on her Senior Night. Freshman Nyla Patrizio chipped in four points off the bench.
Viera’s defense created a number of steals and forced Merritt Island into bad passes or off-balanced shots throughout the night.
The Hawks went on an 18-0 run in the first quarter to close out the period with a 20-5 advantage. Leading by 28 at the half, Viera shutout the Mustangs 16-0 in the third quarter to take a 54-10 lead into the fourth.
Carmer said that by putting the players in charge of calling things early on, “that shows that they can be leaders on the floor and find what works. The energy comes from them. That’s a fantastic goal, to be able to have that energy be self-motivated.”
The win improved the Hawks to 3-3 on the season with their three losses coming to powerhouse teams Palm Bay, Cocoa and Oviedo.
“We wanted to test ourselves against that (kind of competition) so we can get to the point where we play that competition on a regular basis,” Carmer said. “One day we were a little off (against Oviedo), but otherwise, we’ve been playing hard and competing. We’ve been playing well.”