Saturday, January 16, 2010

DJ Hits The Game-Winner - Right?

DJ drove inside and hit a short game-winning jumper with four seconds remaining…or did he? At least four people scored the game. To three of us it became apparent, long after the players and refs had left the court...there was a descreprency with the final score. Did Flight really win this game?

My scratchings showed:
Kings Ridge…6…21…32…54
But how accurate was that?

The 7:30 game started early, after the Flight JV Girls beat Kings Ridge so bad that the game was stopped early. Will and I arrived in time to see the last few seconds of the Boy’s first quarter tick off. I passed behind Cathy Hoffer, in deep conversation with Mrs. I didn’t bother them. I sat between Willis and Brett Smith, Connor’s dad. “Willis…where’s Becky?”, I asked. “Back there”, he pointed. It wasn’t Cathy after was Becky! Long week.

Curiously, Flight started the second quarter with a quintet of DJ, Joe, Isaac, Brendan, and Joel. Soon Kevin replaced DJ, and it took the entire quarter for King’s Ridge to come back and take the lead. The subs played hard, but got off few shots. Joe had two steals and a rebound. Isaac scored all five of the second quarter points, and he also had a vicious block. Brendan and Kevin added two rebounds each. Later we heard the coaches had benched the starters due to a lackluster first quarter effort.

Normally this is a classic Flight tactic. Instead of blowing out a lesser team, the Flight coaches have an uncanny ability to know just when to pull starters, giving everyone playing time...and still winning the game. The Barons had blown out Kings Ridge, before losing to Flight. Flight burst ahead in the first few minutes of the third quarter. A full court press led to nine quick steals. In one sequence Keon had three straight rebounds, finally passing out to the top of the key to Chris, who nailed a three-pointer. Flight outscored Kings Ridge 20-11. Chris had seven points in the quarter, DJ five, and Connor four.

Funny moment: Connor went airborne chasing a loose ball near the baseline. To me, and at least one Kings Ridge player, it appeared he had stepped on the baseline. The entire gym heard the player shout “that’s out on him!” But no whistle, and Connor was able to save the ball…flipping to DJ for a basket.

Chatting with Willis and Brett, and having missed the first quarter, my note-taking and scorekeeping wasn’t spot on. Connor’s mom Carol was right in front of me, so I never noticed that she, as usual, was also keeping score. But as the fourth quarter began I checked the scoreboard. Flight led 40-32.

The Kings Ridge rims were unforgiving. Shot after shot bounced off the firm baskets. Late in the game the Kings Ridge players’ high, arching shots kept finding the mark...scoring nine straight to pull within a basket with 5:22 left. They went ahead 45-43 at the four minute mark.

The foul calls were mostly going against Flight. Kings Ridge went to the bonus with 6:46 left, and to the double-bonus with 3:37 left. Kings Ridge hit two threes, but DJ answered with a two and a three. Connor was fouled hard and made one of two free throws. Isaac passed inside to Connor for two more. Flight scored seven straight to retake the lead…50-45.

Kings Ridge climbed back, taking a 54-52 lead. Kevin drew a key charge, but the next Flight shot missed. 35 seconds left. Connor block on the other end. DJ was fouled with 13 seconds left, but only hit one foul shot. 54-53 Kings Ridge.

On the pass downcourt, DJ went to intercept. The foul call could’ve gone either way, but it went against DJ. Both Kings Ridge foul shots were missed. Rebound Flight. DJ brought the ball down, glancing at the clock. He drove left, taking the ball inside the foul line. Five seconds. DJ pulled up, taking a fadeaway…GOOD! 55-54…FLIGHT WINS!

In the excitement, I stopped taking notes. I always remember the rest…right? As we chatted about the game, the teams shook hands. Flight prayed at midcourt, then returned to the locker room. Later they emerged and chatted with friends. The crowd thinned. Brendan’s mom approached, carrying the scorebook. She had a question: did we show the same 55-54 score?

Carol and I checked our notes. Our sheets agreed with Mrs. Lively. In the fourth quarter: Isaac hit a free throw. DJ had ten of his 15 second-half points. Connor added three points. One + 10 + 3 = 14. Add 14 to the third quarter total of 40 and you get…54. Was it really a tie?

Across the court, Willis and I saw two people pouring over the Kings Ridge scorebook. Did they see the same thing we saw? I guess we’ll never know.

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