The CYO basketball season got back to action last week, and L’s team had two games. It was their best week of the year.

Tuesday we played St E, the church where all three of our girls went to preschool. Games against teams like St E are always tricky. They don’t have a grade/middle school, so are reliant on word-of-mouth within the parish to get enough girls to come out for a team. Often these teams suck. Occasionally they are clearly vehicles to build around one really good player, who usually plays on another, higher level team outside CYO.

St E was kind of in the middle of that spectrum. They had one really good player and another decent player, but the rest of the team was trash. And the good girl wasn’t so good that she could carry a team. She handled the ball all the time, got rebounds, made good passes, and took a ton of shots. In pregame warmups she was hitting 3’s. Her jumper wasn’t as good with a defender on her, though. She scored eight of St E’s 15 points, but was hampered by foul trouble and had to sit a good chunk of the second half before fouling out late.

Our girls played really well. We scored 32. We hit four free throws (out of 12), so we had 14 made baskets. One of those was a short jumper by L, let’s call it a 10-footer. The other was a long two banked in by a girl who should never shoot, inside or outside. The other 12 were all layups or off of offensive rebounds. When our girls can get out in transition, they are good. When they play teams that can stop that, it’s tough to score. Fortunately St E gave up a lot of run outs that we turned into points.

Saturday we played St L, the team we destroyed by 29 in the fall break tournament. We knew they were missing a player in that first game, a girl who is super athletic but not a that great of a player. Still, she’s tall and works well with their 6-footer. When the big girl throws up a brick, this other girl is great at getting weak-side rebounds.

Our girls just did not look into the game at all. They made sloppy passes, didn’t run plays right, and were half-assing it on hustle plays. I was helping on the bench (more about that later) and at one point looked at one of the other coaches and asked, “Have we got a loose ball all day?” It didn’t help two of our eighth graders are incredible swimmers and had already swam at a meet before the game. They were both a step slower than usual.

Anyway, we were behind most of the game, but kept coming back. We were never down more than five but also couldn’t take the lead when we made our runs.

Early in the fourth quarter we were down five and our coach was begging the girls to stop worrying about offense and show some pride by not letting their girl get the ball. A few steals, two layups, and a free throw later the game was tied with about 3:00 left.

That’s when the game got really interesting.

Our girls had been complaining the entire game that the big girl was playing dirty. Hitting them with elbows in the neck, grabbing their jerseys and shoving them, cheap shot-ing anyone who ran by her. Just your average mean kid shit.

We got a defensive rebound and were pushing the ball up court when I saw our tallest girl go flying and land with a loud thud on the floor. I was blocked from the point of contact, but apparently the big girl hit her with an elbow again, then put two hands in her back and shoved her. Luckily for us their big girl outweighs ours by a good 30 pounds and a referee was right there. He T’ed up the big girl.

If you’ve followed these posts, you know L’s team has a free throw issue. We are shooting somewhere in the range of 15% for the year. Not an exaggeration.

The head coach sent L to the line to take the technical shots. She calmly swished them both to put us up two.

We scored on the ensuing possession and closed the game on a 12–1 run to get the W. The big girl sat out the rest of the game, which helped us, although she was not playing great to begin with. We’re pretty sure her coach pulled her because of her behavior. And our girls were super pumped afterward. They do not like the big girl and were glad she got caught and that her outburst was a big factor in her team losing.

We are now 2–2 for the CYO season. Oh, L scored six in both games last week.

Now, why was I on the bench Saturday? Both coaches will be out of town all this week. And we have two games scheduled. And I’m the only remaining parent who has been dumb enough to coach these girls at any point before. So guess who gets to coach them this week? Against two very good teams?

Yep, this guy.

I’m thrilled and greatly looking forward to it. The team we play Wednesday has lost to St L, which makes no sense. But they also lost to the second place team – who beat us by 20+ – by five. So who knows.

Next Saturday we play the first place team, St C, who are just crushing souls this year. We have no chance against them short of a Covid outbreak on their roster. Even then I bet their sixth grade team could play up for the day and still whip us. Doubling that fun is we play St C in the opening round of the season-ending tournament next week. Not sure who we pissed off to get that draw…

Anyway, pray for me this week as I try to give the girls some kind of guidance from the bench. I’m debating whether to use my five time outs to stop runs, or sit on them to get the games over with quicker.