A lot of youth basketball last week. I’ll try not to stretch this out too long, but you know how I get when I am typing about hoops.
L’s St P’s team visited the undefeated, first place squad last Tuesday night. St B’s was 5–0 and their closest game was an eleven-point win. Their average margin of victory was 21. They are coached by a former NFL player and they are from the south side of Indy, so we figured they would be tough.
St B’s jumped out to an 11–2 lead pretty quickly. We made a couple runs but couldn’t get within a single possession. Most of the game the margin bounced between six and nine points. St B’s wasn’t doing anything special. They were just playing very sound basketball and getting open shots inside while our girls were struggling to find any looks. We rebounded the hell out of the ball – it was our best rebounding game ever – but all-too-often would turn the ball over immediately after the rebound.
Still, we were down just 21–16 going into the fourth quarter, already in the bonus, and actually shooting free throws well. Our coaches had adjusted the defense at halftime and we were packing the lane, forcing St B’s to shoot from outside. They rewarded us by chucking brick after brick.
We just couldn’t put together enough consecutive stops-and-scores to get over the hump. We were again down by nine late before we made our customary run, only to run out of time. We got a defensive rebound, L came roaring up the court and drained a long two with two seconds left to cut it to two. We fouled immediately, they missed their free throw, but our half-court attempt came up woefully short.
Saturday we had two games with the Cathedral team. They were supposed to practice Friday, but too many girls had the flu and it was cancelled. We were also missing three girls Saturday because of CYO games. To fill in, the coach brought three girls up from the B team.
In game one you could tell we were a team that hadn’t practiced in two weeks and had subs on the roster. Bad effort, terrible offense, no communication, and people getting lost on defense. We were down nine at the half. And for some reason our girls, who had two subs, looked more tired than their opponents, who were playing with just five.
The coaches spent halftime coming up with some new plays and we used them to get L two quick layups. We trimmed the lead down to two at one point but could never get it any closer, losing by eight.
Game two was one we had been looking forward to for a couple weeks. We were matched against a team coached by L’s AAU coach and which featured four of her AAU teammates with their middle school classmates. A couple other girls from the travel team came to watch. I had been texting with the AAU coach all week, getting my excuses in early about the illness, lack of practice, etc. We all thought it was fun and games.
And then his girls came out and curb-stomped us.
Remember all those games early this fall when the AAU team couldn’t hit a 3? Those same girls hit five 3’s in the first half, along with just about everything else they threw up. We were down something like 22 at halftime. The lead was well over 30 for most of the second half but we got it down to a respectable, gulp, 26 at the final buzzer.
The only upside was L scored 10 and had some nice moves. One of her travel teammates watching from the stands got video of her making a sweet Euro-step to score on one of her other AAU friends.
L was embarrassed by the result. And she was mad that her team kind of stinks. I told her she needs to calm down and give the team a chance to get the entire roster together, to get some practices under their belts, and give the coaches an opportunity to figure out some kind of functioning offense. It would also be nice if they learned to play team defense instead of standing and watching when a teammate gets beat. But, again, that’s all about practice time together. I also reminded her the Cathedral coaches will watch her effort and attitude and those impressions can help or hurt her the next few years.
Sunday was the final CYO game of the regular season. We played St L, a school that we generally beat one year, lose to the next. We were due for an L and St L was 5–1 coming in to our 3–3.
We destroyed those chicks.
It was 9–2 after one, 17–6 at halftime, 26–6 after three, and 44–11 at the final buzzer. L and her best friend both scored 12, so they were fired up to each have outscored St L on their own.
This was an especially satisfying win. St L has a girl I’ve written about before who is a bit of a head case. She shoved one of our players last year. We heard she got a technical at a game earlier this year for intentionally elbowing someone. St L also has some very obnoxious parents. Their coach is kind of a douche. L’s best friend’s grandfather coached against that guy 30 years ago and they still do not get along. The game was at Chatard high school, and after the game the grandfather was offering to pay L’s high school tuition if she went there instead of Cathedral. The Chatard varsity coach ran the clock, and came over to ask L, “Don’t you love shooting on these rims?!?! Don’t you want to go to school here?!?!” Laughter all around, although L shook her head no.
One of our coaches texted later in the evening saying that she heard St L was missing their point guard, who is very good. My response, “She’s not 33 points good.”
St L’s might have been missing their lead guard, but our girls would have beaten every team they’ve played this season Sunday. It was the best game, by far, any of our St P’s teams has ever played. Great defense. Patient on offense. Decent on the boards and at the line. L pushing the tempo. Her buddy scoring down low. Hell, we shot over 35% from the field, which has never happened. It was a lot of fun to watch.
We ended the regular season 4–3, in fourth place. We lost to the first place team by 2, beat one of the second place teams by 33, and had a lead on the other second place team in the final minute. We also had the bad luck of losing our first game of the year to a team who lost their best player, who dropped 20 on us, after that game and hasn’t won since.
Now they get a week to prepare for a rematch with St B in the first round of the tournament. Because, you know, you can never seed a tournament in Indiana…🙄
- One of them complained about us to the CYO office last year after the big girl shoved our player. ↩
- Humble brag: he’s been low-key recruiting her all year. It’s not just because he likes her and sees potential in her. That class is really small at all schools and talent is hard to come by, so he’s trying his hardest to get as many north side girls as he can. ↩