There was plenty of excitement Tuesday night inside Johnston High School’s Edwards L. DiSmone Gymnasium.
Almost everything went as planned; the Panthers seniors – Will Juarez, Nathaniel Vasquez and twin brothers Cameron and Matt Sabitoni – were honored along with their parents during impressive pregame ceremonies.
Backed by a supporting cast of Panther partisans and the school’s outstanding cheerleading squad, head coach Dan Mazzulla addressed the good-size crowd and thanked the parents as well as his seniors for their super support and hard work during their respective careers on Cherry Hill.
The night’s attendees also featured some former Panthers who enjoyed watched the currents cast of JHS basketball – which is headed for the post-season playoffs – present their mighty moms with flowers.
There was another special ceremony to honor JHS senior majorettes Ashley DiLorenzo and Cheryl Conti as well as their proud parents.
From start to finish, the night’s emcee Glenn Carroll – who doubles as a PA announcer at JHS home games and as president of the Johnston Community Center Association - made each moment special with his lively introductions and “Music Man” Mark Gilmore added a personal touch on his personal sound system.
Everything went as planned – except for the final 50 seconds of the nip-and-tuck contest that the visiting Times2 Academy Eagles of Head Coach Chris Love wound up winning, 47-43.
It was a tough loss for the Panthers, who received 14-point performances from junior Tom Zednik and senior captain Will Juarez. Emanuel Kayee and Jason Peters led the visitors with 17 and 14 points respectively.