I mentioned last week that L was finally looking healthy again. She had claimed her tailbone was healed from her recess injury last month, but I think she was still feeling some pain there. And her knees were a mess in May, but seemed better last weekend.
This weekend she seemed as healthy as she’s been in months, and that showed in her play.
Her team went 3–1, losing in the semifinals of their tournament to the best (going into) seventh grade team from their program, which was playing up a division. L’s team was missing two players, including a starter, so she got elevated and started all four games.
Saturday they won game one by 10. That was only because they got super sloppy late. They led by 17–19 almost the entire second half but could never get that last bucket to trigger the running clock. Then they got super sloppy in the final four minutes and pissed away half of their lead. L was only 1–5 from the field, but that one basket was pretty sweet. She got a pass deep in the backcourt, blew past everyone, and laid it in. That play showed me that her knees were in good shape, and was reminiscent of how she used to kill people on the break.
Game two was a relatively easy 26 point win. L had the best game of her life. Her final line was 6–10 from the field, 4–5 from 3, for career-high 16 points. At one point she hit three-straight 3’s. Remember, this kid had never hit a 3 in an actual game until last week. And suddenly she’s Steph Curry! She added a rebound, two assists, a steal and a block. She should have had more assists but one of her teammates, who is usually money if she can get the ball in the lane, missed at least four shots L set her up for. They were all tough-luck misses, too, spinning out or getting bad bounces.
The only bummer for the day was L going 0–5 from the free throw line across the games, and most were bad misses. But at least she was getting to the line, something she hadn’t done in weeks.
We had three hours between games Saturday, and were 45 minutes outside the city, so we set up a breakfast tailgate. It was cloudy and cool so not an awful way to spend a June morning while killing time. After the second game the other parents were telling me L had to eat pancakes before every game.
Sunday’s quarterfinal started off a little dicey. We looked sloppy early were down four. We trailed 11–10 with about five minutes left in the half before our girls ripped off a 12–0 run to end the half. They extended that to a 32–4 run over the remainder of the game and got a easy 27-point win.
L continued to play well, going 3–4 from the field, 1–2 from 3, for seven points.
The semifinal was ugly. We were down 10–2 early and never really had a chance. All of our girls seemed like a mess from the opening tip. Our coach was pleading with them in timeouts to remember they were a year older than their opponents and use their strength, but those seventh graders to-be were just faster and better and strength didn’t matter. They had a big girl that brutalized us in the first half and their coach, likely in an effort to keep that girl fresh for the final, sat her the entire second half. Didn’t matter, our girls couldn’t solve their defense and were constantly lost when they were guarding.
L had a rough game. She air-balled her first three to start an 0–6 game. She took two other 3’s that looked much better but nothing was dropping for anyone on her squad this game. She did grab a couple rebounds, dish two assists, and had a steal.
She was bummed and quiet on the way home. I reminded her she wasn’t the only player who stunk up the last game and she shouldn’t let that outweigh the best weekend of her hoops life.
Her knees were a little sore last night but not as bad as they have been. Hoping they cooperate next weekend when we head to Tennessee for a big tournament.
She has joined another team for the summer that features many of the girls she played winter ball with. I told the coach that she wouldn’t be able to join them until travel ball wrapped up at the end of the month, but he was nagging me last week about her playing in their first game Sunday night. I reminded him of my early message and told him her knees couldn’t take another game.
Apparently they lost by 30 to fifth graders. Now I think four of the top five players on the roster were not there, but, still. I get why the coach was trying to get L to show up. It’s going to be like making a big trade at the deadline when she jumps in with them in July (jinx).