Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Summer Basketball

Last Wednesday night I went with W and M to Joel’s basketball game. Johnson Ferry Baptist runs a men’s summer league, mainly for competitive players in their twenties. Most played in high school, and several played college ball. Joel’s team had four really good players, plus four others. Six played with Will at Flight. The team, in decreasing order of ability:

Connor: Plays for Oglethorpe. A beast.
DJ: the Basketball Marvel has improved since high school.
Jack: white 3-point shooter, shaved head, beard.
Pearl: black 3-point shooter in Syracuse shorts.

David Norman: improved rebounding & inside game
Willis Norman: out of practice, but held his own inside
Joel Norman has improved since high school.
McKay Smith: Connor’s little brother.

Our guys were playing a decent team of older guys that included two good big men and a couple of good outside shooters. But our guys jumped out to a quick lead and held it the entire game. The lead swelled to double digits several times. The league issues reversible jerseys and has an interesting rule – everyone must tuck their jersey into their shorts. The refs did a good job, especially the one who looked like young Michael Wilbon.   

Connor did not enter the game until three minutes remained in the first half (20 minutes each – running clock). Connor used the game to try out shots, passes, and moves he might not normally attempt in an Oglethorpe game. He entered the game wearing his sister’s hard plastic headband to keep his long flowing hair out of his face, but the referee made him take it off.

DJ shot more consistently than he did in high school, and drained several three-pointers and drove inside with impunity. Like Connor, he physically used positioning to create shots and draw fouls. DJ played most of the game, showing no fatigue from coming straight from an afternoon intramural softball game down at Georgia Tech.

Young McKay did not play until deep in the second half, but was able to keep up and blend in with players twice his age. Going into the 10th grade, he made most of his three-pointers during warmups. The Norman boys all got considerable playing time, and showed no fear battling inside. Late in the game, with several of our best players on the bench, the opponents cut the lead to three points. Jack sat out the last ten minutes. Our guys held on to win, but the game wouldn’t have been as close had Jack played more at the end of the game. Final score 92-89.

A good game to watch. Both teams played tight defense and moved the ball around on offense, often working the ball inside. Plenty of three pointers were taken, and many made, but it was far from a run & gun fast break shootout. Almost all shots were contested. Contrastingly, the next game was completely the opposite: two all black teams hoisting uncontested three pointers, little movement, and snowbirds hanging back on the offensive end.

Becky Norman came to watch. I did not keep score, but Connor’s mom kept track on her phone as she chatted. Connor’s dad did not watch. Later he said Oglethorpe was only playing ten home games next year in an effort to make the tournament. Connor said he would add me to the pass list.

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