Will’s Flight basketball program had the big season kickoff / intersquad game last night. Will got in a little action as the JV & Varsity boys scrimmaged. On JV he mostly plays forward, but last night mostly played guard / wing against the bigger boys. He got an assist and forced a couple of turnovers, and got a few bumps and bruises along the way. One time senior leader Ben tried to drive past him, and Will somehow grabbed the ball. Ben was called for a walk (and had to briefly leave the game from being hit in the Adam’s apple). Once he jumped high to contest a boy’s open three. The boy hesitated, trying to draw a foul, but none was called.
When we arrived I was handed a whistle and asked to referee the first middle-school scrimmage. Luckily l found a more able volunteer, because the refs had to official the entire evening. I hung around Living Science dad Eric at the scorer’s table, where I knew I’d have to volunteer during the season. There’s a certain pressure that goes with keeping the clock and scoreboard. Keeping score in basketball requires a lot more attention than baseball, where you can be looking down or chatting, and hear the crack of the bat, thump of the ball in the mitt, or umpire’s call, and have time to look up and not miss anything.
There were several Living Science kids playing, on all six teams. Many familiar faces from previous expeditions and retreats, in the stands and on the court. The middle-school girls played first. Will’s friend Abby hustled, moved well without the ball, made crisp passes, and played tight defense. She stayed out on the perimeter, and needs to use her height inside in upcoming JV games. I recognized her dad from an expedition…husband of the somersaulting Tammy. Another little LS girl was aggressive and pretty good.
Charles looked like Spud Webb even against the middle-school boys. He played point the entire game and almost orchestrated a dramatic comeback for his white team. With time running down he split the defense and drove the lane for a clutch layup. As he ran back down the court I caught his eye and tried to get him to grin, but he didn’t want to remove his game face.
A few 8th-graders are playing both middle-school and JV, including LS students Conner and Holt. Conner is a younger/smaller version on 10th-grade sensation DJ, a sharp-shooting slasher. Conner dominated the middle-school game, making several three-pointers and almost some nice cuts to the basket for one-handed shots. He also held his own against the big boys in the JV-Varsity game. Afterwards I asked his dad if Conner was going to play varsity and he laughed, but he appreciated the compliment. Conner’s older brother Garrison was on last weekend’s retreat.
Holt is tall and plays inside. Like Will, he’s a baseball player with little roundball experience, but his size will serve him well in middle-school games. He also mixed it up against the big boys, drawing two fouls. Holt is the adopted younger brother of the blonde servant-leader MaryKathryn, and during much of the older boys game I chatted with their parents. I confessed that I had planted the crackers in MK’s shoes.
The JV-Varsity girls game had more action than the middle-school games. Eric’s daughters are aggressive and good inside…once one blocked the other’s shot.
After the girls finished the big boys came out to warm up. Will was wearing number 34, making him look even less like a basketball player. All night the games had been two quarters, and after those 16 minutes DJ’s burgundy squad had blown out older brother Ben’s white team. They reset the scoreboard and played another quarter, but the white team still lost by three points. Birthday-boy DJ put on a show, scoring 32 points. He had 4 three-pointers, 9 two-pointers, and two foul shots. Ben led the white team with ten points. It’s their older brother that wants to walk on at Tech.
Brothers Willis and David also played on opposite teams, and both played important inside roles. Willis had several good shots that just missed, but David had four points. David is a little more aggressive than the taller Willis, but he could get in foul trouble once the season starts. Younger brother Joel started the game and didn’t back down, but had several of his shots blocked.
After practice tonight Will leaves with the older boys and girls on a north Georgia team-building campout/retreat.