Tuesday, July 09, 2013

8th Grade Basketball Championship - Overtime

We are tied at 43. The overtime period is 3 minutes.

Keith wins the second jump ball of the day.

After much patience on offense, Jarod finds Ryan in the lane for a jumper. The shot is blocked by Andale #4.

Andale #53 tries a deep two over Ryan on the right wing, which bounces long. Rebound Andale #54, who misses a challenged putback. Rebound is tipped and secured by me.

Justin barely gets an entry pass past Andale #53, and Keith's short turnaround jumper in the lane bounces in.

Andale #42 passes into #51 to post against Ryan, but he's well-guarded. He passes back out to #42 on the right wing, who makes a jumper.

We give it to Jarod on the baseline, and before I can cut through to the other side of the lane, he drives to the basket. I stop my cut, and watch him perform a nifty step-through reverse layup without using the backboard. Some in the crowd want a traveling call, and I'm surprised these Luddite refs allow it. 1:35 remaining, St Mark up 2.

Andale #42 lobs it into #53 at the right block, and he is surrounded by 3 defenders. Keith is called for a foul from behind on #53's shot, his first foul of the entire game.

First free throw is missed short.

Second free throw spins out, rebound by Jarod.

After a lot of ball movement, Ryan misses a mid-range jumper from the right wing. Jarod has his man boxed out, and comes up with the rebound, which he dribbles out to the corner. Everyone goes nuts because he may have carried the ball while doing so. His second dribble certainly got away from him a bit; again, I'm shocked that these refs didn't make the call, considering their conservative nature. Maybe they are fatigued by the extra period and want to wrap this thing up.

Our offense works it to Jarod in the right corner, and we stand around and watch him. This is probably what we should have been doing the entire game - at the very least, I should have been passing it to him and then running the opposite direction so as not to screw up another possession. Anyway, somewhat remarkably, Jarod steps through a doubleteam, gets a very useful but mostly unintentional screen by Keith on #53, and hits a wide open shot a few feet from the basket. After the bucket, Andale #53 makes the "carrying" motion to the nearest ref.

Andale #51 again gets it on the right wing and drives against Ryan - maybe the coaches like the height differential in that matchup? Fine by me, I'm not getting scored on much anymore. Anyway, his drive is cut off by Keith's help at the right block. He pivots, considers a pass across the lane, decides against it and passes back to #4 at the top of the key. In the process, he drags his foot and is called for traveling. Everyone is now convinced of a referee conspiracy, I'm sure. I clap for too long again like an asshole.

St Mark calls a timeout.

Our timeout allows Andale to set up a press. Inbound pass to Jarod, back to me, dribbling up the right side and passing to Keith at mid-court. The pass isn't secured, and Andale #51 gets the ball. Since the camera is swinging right to see the pass hit Keith, I can't quite tell if the pass is bad or the catch is bad. Keith seems to be jumping toward me to make a catch, and the ball goes too far to his right. I'm scoring it as a bad pass by me - what's one more for me at this point?

In the chaos after the steal, Andale #53 gets a shot in the lane after a power dribble. It bounces off to the left, and is rebounded by Andale #54. Jarod is called for a foul going after the rebound.

As Andale readies to inbound from the baseline, I look extremely disinterested in the overtime period of the tournament championship, final basketball game of my 8th grade career, up by 4 with very little time left.

We are playing zone. The ball is lobbed over me to Andale #4. I make little effort to get around #42 and reach him at the three point line, where he launches a shot. It misses short, and #42, who I finally got past, is able to get the long rebound. He passes to #4, still in the same spot, who puts up another three that misses long and bounces out of bounds. It's a two-possession game, so Andale didn't need a three there. They were both open shots, though.

I knew this was coming; I remember it well. In practice against the press, I'd do this thing where I faked pass toward the sideline, then lob to Jarod toward the middle of the court. Jarod and I never discussed it, but we were always on the same page and it always worked. In practice. On this occasion, I lob it directly to #53, who dribbles straight in for a layup. It's my 10th turnover. Andale's entire team has 13 turnovers.

We have a 2 point lead. Tensions are high. Can we hold on? I've just committed my TENTH turnover, and must inbound again against the Andale press. I look up at the scoreboard. The ref bounces the ball to me. I consider passing to Justin, but why? The clock is still running. The buzzer sounds. St Mark wins as time expires as I am holding the ball out of bounds. This is quite unorthodox, and I have no idea if this is how the clock is supposed to work in our league, or if the person working the scoreboard screwed up by not stopping it after the made basket. The camera is stopped almost immediately, which is unfortunate, because we can't see if the Andale coaches are mad (scoreboard error) or not (no scoreboard error). I assume I would remember a big argument, so maybe that's just how our crappy little league did things.

"Hi, future self!"

Speaking of coaches, our coach was not very pleased with our play. In the locker room, he told us that he wasn't happy with the close game. I think he wanted to crush them, because when we beat them earlier in the year, people (?) claimed it was because they were missing their point guard due to an injury. He did say that he'd get over it soon, and sure enough, by the time we saw him at school that week he was genial.

Instead of recording traditional basketball stats, I marked them the same way we used to back then, with the same turnover categories.

Andale committed 13 fouls to our 11, but shot 9 free throws to our 1. No players fouled out, despite early foul trouble for Andale. Andale only hit 3 of 9 free throws; Keith missed our only free throw attempt.

The stats might be off, but I only credited Andale with 9 steals. That means many of our 19 turnover passes went out of bounds.

I had 10 of our team's 25 turnovers. Justin was the next highest, with 7, but he had 9 assists.

Andale dominated the offensive glass, 13 to 5. All of #53's 5 rebounds were on offense. Total rebounds were close - St Mark had 23 and Andale had 20. Jarod led all players with 8 rebounds.

We were able to stay in the game despite turnovers because of our high shot percentage. We were 20 for 35 (57%) through four quarters, and were 3-5 (including Ryan's blocked attempt) in overtime.

Justin was 1 for 2 on threes. Andale shot 42%, including 0-3 for three, but did get 13 of those misses back on offensive rebounds.

St Mark had 17 assists on 24 field goals. Andale had 13 assists on 22 shots.

*  *  *

So that was the end of my run as a starting basketball player. I went to a different high school than all of my teammates, and I did make the freshman team there. I got a bit of playing time here and there, mostly as a punishment for whatever player (Phil) screwed up, because I wasn't very good. I improved most, I think, in the couple years after that, when I regularly played pickup games with other high school kids on Sundays. I hadn't been exposed to many 5 on 5 games prior to that, simply because all of my grade school classmates lived in rural areas, and it was hard to get everybody together for a game. Then in college, playing constantly at the rec center really improved my basketball knowledge and skills. My intramural league team won its division, and lost the tournament final. I wasn't a big part of that, but I was on the team as a 6th or 7th man, depending on how many of our studs showed up for the game. We won a T-shirt. Which was more than we won for this 8th grade game -- we only got one trophy for the school, not individual ones for each of us.

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