Compared to other recent weekends, this past one was pretty laid back for us. It helped that there was no KU game.
The biggest factor in the lazy weekend was that my latest round of balance therapy really triggers my vertigo, and Sunday I spent almost the entire day on the couch giving my body a break. My therapist said making the vertigo kick in is the best way to speed the re-training of my brain, so I’m going to trust it was a good thing that I was worthless yesterday. And only slightly better today.
Friday night was busy, though. That was L’s basketball tournament night. Her team opened against the second-worst team in the league, a team they beat easily in the regular season. That game had been one of L’s best of the year, when she knocked down three quick jumpers to build an early lead.
Friday was not much different. She opened the scoring by swishing two free throws. She hit a baseline jumper. She pulled up on a drive and hit a ten-footer. And she made a sick move into the lane, getting the defender leaning one way then crossing her over and tossing in a nifty little runner. That move got some oohs and aahs in the stands. She had eight points in the first half, added four in the second, but missed two wide-open shots on inbounds plays that could have given her a career-high 16. Twelve points in a 16-point win was plenty.
We were a little concerned at how long her coaches both played L and kept pressing. L played almost the entire second half and they were still pressing up 15+ with under 5:00 left. Their opponents only made two field goals all night. The championship game was immediately after, so seems like you would want to rest your top scorers in an easy win. L said she was fine afterward, though, so we didn’t sweat it.
The other highlight of the semifinal was a dad in front of us from the other team. He was getting all worked up about everything. The poor play of his team. The calls the refs were/were not making. He wasn’t yelling loudly but just looked beside himself about everything.
The greatest parent moment all season came as we were starting the second half. We were sitting right at mid court and he was directly behind the ref. As she prepared to hand the ball to our girls to start the half, he starts berating this poor lady. It went on a few seconds as the girls were lining up and eventually we caught his point of contention: he believed it should have been his team’s ball because we took the last shot of the first half. He was 1000% convinced he was right. Finally the ref took the whistle out of her mouth, gave him a shitty look, and with much disdain said, “The team that has the possession arrow at the end of the first half gets the ball to start the second half. It doesn’t matter who took the last shot.” She popped the whistle back in, blew it, and handed the ball to our girl. Meanwhile the dad angrily shook his head.
WHAT. THE. HELL. DUDE?
Maybe that’s why he was arguing so much: he had no freaking idea what the rules of basketball are, or have been for roughly 40 years. Shocked the Indiana Basketball Police didn’t come out and force him into an education camp.
On to the final, where we would take on a team we beat 12–10 in the regular season. That game was physical and ugly. We had an 8–2 lead and had to hold on for our lives to win.
The first half was entirely back-and-forth. They lead by three, we scored four-straight, they scored, we scored, and so on. We had a three-point lead late in the half when L made a bad turnover at half court and have up a layup. It was 11–10 at half. So progress from the first game, I guess. Our best inside player had three fouls, though, which caused some concern.
Midway through the second half we had a 15–12 lead and then it all went to shit. We had all ten players and our coaches, good guys that they are, made sure that every girl played. Coaching a big team is tough. I’ve done it in basketball and kickball. You do your best to give girls equal opportunity. But I’ve always thought you throw that out in close tournament games. There is a significant drop off in ability from the first five to second five on this team, and I’m not sure a few of them needed to be on the court as much as they were. Still, I give the coaches props for giving every girl a chance.
The other team started pressing and trapping and we lost our composure. Girls who can barely dribble against no pressure were just melting against this defense. We made bad passes. We couldn’t get the ball inbounds. When we got the ball to one of our guards, everyone abandoned her to face the traps alone. It was a disaster. I think we went four-straight possessions without getting the ball across mid court. Next thing you know it was 24–15. 12–0 runs in sixth grade C-leagues are are killers. We had some chances to get back into it but just missed too many shots late. We were 1–8 from the line, which did not help. Final score was 27–20. L finished with three points.
A disappointing score but L said she had fun. She made some new friends from other schools, and she’s excited to see them at future CYO games. Amazingly she said she’ll miss the practices most. She’s normally not a big practice fan but said they were fun because they goofed around a lot.
One funny ref note from the championship contest. It was the classic “One ref calls everything, the other ref calls nothing” game. I hate these. The active ref got into a yelling match with the opposing coach before the opening tip because his team wasn’t ready to play when the ref was, and again during the first half over a call. But he was generally making decent, fair calls. In the second half, when the game was especially frenetic, L was bringing the ball up the sideline and getting bodied by her defender. Eventually the ref blew a whistle and called a pushing foul. Before he signaled who the foul was on, he yelled down at the defender, “HEY! Get off her!” I was thinking the same thing so was glad we were on the same page.
Now we are off to spring sports. C is playing soccer for the first time in four or five years, joining a bunch of other eighth graders on the St. P’s team. She has already had to leave a practice because she got hit by a ball that was kicked hard, so this should be great. In another upset. because her eighth grade trip to DC has been replaced by a trip to Cleveland/King’s Island, and will be later in May than normal, a bunch of girls decided to play kickball one more time. The head coach and I thought we were done; 8th graders don’t normally play in the spring because the DC trip falls right in the midst of the season. Now we both have to mentally prepare ourselves for another season. I tried to talk C out of it, reminding her of how her fall season ended perfectly. She wasn’t interested in my logic. Oh well…
C will also run track, which she is very excited about. There are a couple new coaches on the team who have a ton of experience, so it will be fun to see if that translates into better training and results.
L will also play kickball again. There is no 7th grade team this spring so the girls teams will scrimmage each other, which should be awesome. The head coaches of both asked me if that would work for my girls, and I told them it would be fine. L will also run track for the first time. Two springs ago her classmates tried to talk her into it but she declined. After going to C’s meets and hanging out with her friends who were running, she decided it looked cool. It helped that she beat some of those girls when she would help them warm up. We’ll see how that translates to actual races.
In a huge upset, L has told us she’s done with soccer for the time being. She really wants to focus on basketball. This has been a source of controversy, as S and I debate whether should she focus on what she’s having more fun with or what she has a better chance to play for four years in high school. We’ll see what L decides to do in summer – try out for club soccer or find a basketball league/clinics – but after years of soccer we appear to be done with it for at least the short term.
Oh, and M is about to try out for the tennis team at CHS. She’s been taking lessons for six months, but this will be the first time she has ever played. Sophomores can normally get cut, but since that class missed last spring, that grade will be no-cut with the freshmen. She’s very excited about it, and has several friends playing, too. She also thinks the uniforms are super cute, so there you go.
- Obviously there was some massive KU news, which I’ll get to in the next day or so. ↩
- I take the “She loves basketball, sports are supposed to be fun, and I don’t want her burning out, so dropping soccer is fine” tack. S takes the “She’s short and will only be able to play one year of basketball in high school, but if she plays club soccer she’s easily a four-year player if she stays healthy” line. L thinks she can play both at CHS. ↩