If you are a frequent visitor to my blog, you may know that I coach my 13 year old son’s basketball team. I was never a very good basketball player and to be honest, I’m probably not that good of a coach, either. Over the years, I’ve found that it was a good way to spend time with my kids. Plus they listen to me or at least they pretended to.
Last season, I had to decided to become his team’s head coach. The previous 2 years he didn’t want me to do any more than be an assistant coach. He was tired of not being used properly in the games and he wasn’t having good years. I told him that I knew how he should play and he agreed to let me coach.
Last year, we made it to the playoffs and took a really tough loss in the first round. We lost by 4 points, in overtime, but we had won the game in regulation, except one of my guys fouled a player shooting a 3 pointer. At 12 years old, a 3 pointer is a really low percentage shot. Anyway, that’s all water under the bridge.
We came back this year with the expressed goal of winning a championship. Nothing less would do! I had a really good draft and we started to practice. We used a high pressure defense that really throws off the offense. By the end of the regular season, we were 8-1. The only game we lost was to a team with a lot of tall guys and we were missing our 2 tallest kids. Even with that, we only lost by 8 points.
We tied for 1st place in the regular season and that got us a bye in the first round of the playoffs. That’s a huge advantage. If you don’t get the bye, you have to play 2 games in 1 day. It’s extremely difficult to win twice in a day!
We played our first playoff game, in the afternoon, 2 weeks ago. We were going to play a team that we had beaten by 2 points the first go around. We were missing our center for that earlier game. I was expecting to beat them. They were tired from the morning game and we had our center for this game.
The game was well in hand by the middle of the 3rd quarter. We were up by 15 points. We won by 25 points.
The championship game was to be a week later. That was this past Saturday.
Honestly, I was nervous about the game and I was sure that my team would be as well. They were!
We opened the game and the guys were playing some really sloppy basketball. That was pretty unusual. We made bad passes and took ill advised shots that missed. We had a ton of turn overs. Even as bad as we were playing, we had a 10 point lead by the middle of the 2nd quarter. By the beginning of the 4th quarter we had built a 20 point lead.
Then the tide turned, in the 4th quarter. The other team started to pressure us. My guys didn’t react as the usually would’ve. We started turning the ball over, again. They got the lead down to 18. Then their smallest kid started taking 3 pointers. Again, those are low percentage shots. You just don’t expect them to go in. Well, this 4′ 8 “ kid, drained the first one. We turned the ball over and he shot a second 3 pointer. I was thinking, “There’s no way he makes 2 in a row.”
He made the second one, too. I was shocked!
He cut the lead to 12 in just 15 seconds. There were 4 minutes left in the game and my assistant coach suggested that I call a time out. I’m always reluctant to call a time out. I like to save them for as long as possible and I prefer to not use them at all. I agreed that it might be time to call one, but I opted to wait. We had a 11 point lead. There were a bunch of misses on both sides and then the small kid took another 3 pointer. He couldn’t make another one, could he?
The lead was now 8 points with 1minute 30 seconds on the clock. I had no choice but to call a time out. At that point, we were just trying to hold on for the win. Never in my wildest imagination would I think that a 13 year old would make 3, 3 pointers in a row. I had to take my hat off to him. It was remarkable that he made them.
After the time out, we took the court. The other team took 2 more 3 pointers, but they missed both of them. We managed to get one more basket to stretch the lead to 10 points. They missed another 3 pointer and we got the rebound. We managed to run out the clock for the win!
The unfortunate thing is that a couple of years ago the kids stopped being “jump up and down” excited when they won a game. You could hardly tell the winning from the losing team. I was hoping for some sort of celebration from the kids. But … no.
We did get to take pictures of the kids with their trophies. They did smile for that.
It was a really fun season for me and hope the guys had fun too! This is the last year for them to play in this recreation league that the county sponsors. Oh well.
It was fun while it lasted!
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