Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Will's First Basket

The Flight JV team easily beat King’s Academy 46 – 26 yesterday afternoon. The Kings team was made up of many big and athletic players who may have out-rebounded Flight, but they lacked much shooting touch.

Will didn’t start but played well over half the game, scoring his first basket in the third quarter. He took two other shots, had 5 rebounds, 2 fouls, and a steal and a blocked shot.

Will scored when DJ drove down the right side of the court. Had the game been closer DJ could’ve easily continued to the basket and scored. Instead he passed ahead to Will in front of him. Will stepped around a defender toward the basket with the ball held high in his right hand, but since that didn’t give him the best angle, at the last minute Will switched the ball to his left hand and tossed it up to the basket, and it went in.

With the big lead Coach Hoffer had instructed the Flight team to not fast break. Will had one fast break opportunity, and the coach’s instructions made him hesitate, though he missed the lay-up because he drove in and shot while out of control. But later in the game a shot bounced off the rim. Will was alone in the middle of the lane. He jumped up and caught the ball with both hands, and immediately pushed the ball back to the basket. A great play, but the shot bounced off the rim.

As the teams warmed up I noticed a girl shooting with the Kings team. Between games both girls and boys often shoot together, but this girl had on the same uniform and was definitely a member of the team. She even went to half court for the captain’s meeting with the refs, which captain DJ later said was a “weird experience.” She started the game and was a good player. Her coach said she sees the court better than his other players, and he sends her to the halfcourt meetings for the very reason DJ discovered. When Will entered the game Coach Hoffer joked with me, saying Will had asked to guard number three, the girl (he hadn’t, though he did later foul her). Kings doesn’t have a girls JV team, so she took up the coach on his offer to play with the boys.

In the first half both teams took many shots, but it seemed like only the Flight shots were going in. Coach Hoffer’s starting five included players with differing ability levels, perhaps knowing this would be an easy win. With an early lead he put in the four players off the bench halfway through the quarter, and repeated this strategy in the second quarter. Flight led 15 – 7 in the first quarter started, then outscored Kings 11 – 0 in the second.

The second five started the third quarter and was given the ball on the first possession. Speed skater Jonathan brought the ball up and had it stolen by the girl, who drove the court for an easy lay-up. Later she stole the ball from him again. After the game Jonathan’s mom brought up the steals, and we agreed that the boys would rib him unmerciful. As the third quarter continued Kings quickly scored two more unanswered baskets, and I detected a slight momentum shift. But Flight outscored Kings 12 – 2 the rest of the quarter. With the best players on the bench, Kings cut into the lead in the fourth quarter, outscoring Flight 11 – 8.

DJ’s scoring wasn’t needed much, and he concentrated on passing. He finished with 4 points, 3 rebounds, a steal, and 3 assists. After the game he came to the scorer’s table. When I chided him for only scoring 4 points, he was more interested in his assist total.

Conner also didn’t shoot much, scoring 8, with 2 bounds and a block and assist. Will said he scored 31 in the Monday middle-school game.

Holt had another good rebounding game, grabbing a career-high 17 to go with 7 points and 2 steals.

Shooting guard Isaac also spent most of the game passing, making only one foul shot and grabbing 2 rebounds.

Big man Josh also wasn’t needed, but added 7 points and 7 rebounds and a block in limited playing time.

Catherine’s brother Joel started and got off a few shots, grabbed a rebound and added a steal. Late in the game he was wide open and attempted a three, and it swished the net. Minutes later he attempted another, but it was off the mark.

Living Science classmate Jonathan played hard as usual, scoring 6 to go with an assist and steal. He’s the talker on the court, and a lot of fun.

Max started again and played a lot. He isn’t as athletic as Will but not afraid to mix it up or shoot. When he shoots he doesn’t jump, instead just taking a step toward the basket. It gives him a quick release and catches defenders off guard. Max usually is fed the ball near the baseline, between the lane and the three-point line. He just turns and shoots. Against Kings his shots were falling, and he scored 8, perhaps a career high. He added 5 boards and a steal.

Will’s friend Spencer came to the game to watch. Before the game I noticed he was holding a baseball. I didn’t make the connection until after the game…Joel had said that last year John Smoltz’s son played for King’s Ridge, so several boys brought baseballs with the hopes of an autograph. But there was no Smoltz on the roster, and John wasn’t in the small crowd. No Foxworthy, either…but Jeff has daughters.

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