L finally got back in hoops action this weekend. The tournament her team was scheduled to play in in Indy got cancelled because of lack of teams. Our coach scrambled and got us into a tournament in Bloomington.

Which is nice since they’ve been working on the main highway between Indy and B-town approximately since I moved to Indiana. There was a long stretch where there were barrels blocking one lane and the speed limit was 45. A vote against IU for me in M’s college search.

L’s team went 2–0 on Saturday, playing sloppy but beating two bad-ish teams by 20+ each. After the game we took the girls to IU student and alum favorite Nick’s for lunch. It was, unfortunately, raining sideways at the time so we didn’t get to wander around campus or downtown at all.

L looked rusty after a couple weeks off. She scored three in the first game, four in the second. She seemed a step slow in both games and a little unsure of herself. She had a couple nice assists in each game, though.

There were only four seventh grade girls teams so the Sunday tournament began with a rematch with the squad we beat by 23 Saturday. I should note they hung with us pretty deep into the pool game until our best player scored nine points in about 90 seconds and broke their wills. But they played solid D and did some nice stuff on offense.

Naturally on Sunday they jumped out to a 9–2 lead, and led 19–10 late in the first half. Our girls made a nice run – including a sweet dime from L to a teammate in traffic for a basket – and cut it to 21–20 at halftime.

We took the lead pretty quickly in the second half and dominated the first 11 minutes or so. With three minutes left the parent sitting by me asked an important question: “Have they only scored one point this half?”

I looked at the scoreboard and, indeed, we were up 34–22. Quite the turnaround!

That was a big-ass jinx, though, as our girls fell apart a little, let the lead shrunk down to three, before they closed it out to win 38–35. L’s team runs hot and cold shooting, and this was definitely a cold game. They were 0–12 from 3 and 4–25 from the line. This totally felt like KU playing an 8 or 9 seed in the round of 32 and bricking their way out of the tournament.[1]

I was SO impressed with the opposing coach. He took what he learned from playing us Saturday and had his girls attacking our weak points and stymying us on D. What I really liked was he was intense, loud, but always positive. I never heard him yell at a player for doing something wrong. Each time I heard him raise his voice, he was telling his girls how to avoid the foul they just got called for, or how to prevent the turnover they just committed. Travel hoops is full of crazy coaches who tear down more than build up. It kind of made my whole weekend to see one who was the opposite.

Onto the championship game. We were playing a team that had a lot of size. I jokingly told other parents we wouldn’t get a single rebound the entire game. The girls proved me wrong by getting one just a minute into the game. We had a 3–0 lead, but it was all downhill from there. We trailed by nine at the break and kept it respectable in losing by 14. This was a better team that really knew how to play. Our girls battled but they looked tired. This was not a team they could beat playing tired.

L didn’t score in either game Sunday. She had some more nice assists, and played a ton in the second game because she was working hard on defense. She was sore afterward, which I told her was good. Saturday she was upset with herself for not scoring more. Sunday she realized that the shots weren’t there, at least in game two, and took some pride in her defense. She told me she didn’t think a couple of her teammates were working hard once they got behind. I told her that’s why she played so much: coaches see effort and reward it.

Next week is our first big roadtrip: four games in Louisville. Unfortunately we have some girls who have a track meet Friday night and our first game is scheduled for 5:45, so we may have to forfeit that if we can’t get them to reschedule for later.

With two weeks of school left I gave L the assignment of coming up with basketball goals for between now and when fall ball starts. I have ideas, too, but I want to see what her thought process is.[2] Next week when we are driving back from Louisville we’re going to talk about her goals and think of the process to get there. We plan on spending a lot of mornings at the YMCA over the summer.

Playing and driving to-and-from Bloomington dominated my weekend. Not really sure what the rest of the family did. Check their socials if you want insights on them.

  1. The University of Kansas basketball Jayhawks won the men’s Division 1 national championship this year. In case you hadn’t heard.  ↩

  2. I think we need to do a lot of shooting, work on her overall ball handling but especially her left hand, and spend time in the gym getting her stronger.  ↩