Piece by piece, set by set, practice by practice, the work is adding up. Getting uniforms on and playing non-conference games has not only been fun and competitive but we are finding out more and more about our team and it’s been interesting seeing the guys bond and grow as a unit.
Quick recap: We won the first game 54-33 on the road against a team with some size and limited skill in the backcourt. Found out one of our players is a very capable scorer and lots of other things, good and bad, about the rest of the team. Great to get a Saturday morning victory and start a sunny weekend with a W. 1-0.
We then knew we had a big week ahead with three games and as many practices, so after a spirited workout on Monday we went on the road again the following day and completely demolished a team of normal looking 9th and 10th graders who just weren’t very good. We played well, and I insisted the team give full effort, even in the blowout. No pressing, we agreed to running time in 4th quarter, we weren’t overly aggressive, but after being up 35-5 at the half, we won going away, 60-7, to get to 2-0.
Games three and four were much more competitive and exciting. Against a solid group a few nights later we prevailed in our home opener, 52-47, taking down a formidable team with good coaching. It was the first time our guys had their classmates and administrators watch them perform and the results were outstanding. Our scoring ace poured in 23 points, our big guys were becoming more and more impactful, and we were feeling pretty good about ourselves as we climbed to 3-0.
The following night on the road we went up against the biggest team we had yet to see, including two beefie brothers at 6’2, 280 and 6’0, 265. They banged us up pretty good the first half, taking a commanding 27-13 lead as the cavernous, poorly lit gymnasium did our shooters no favors. We picked up the pace in the second half, pressing from all angles, and lo and behold started making a run, cutting the lead to 33-30. It was all tied up with two minutes left when our guys leaked out for some breakaway layups, and we somehow out-rebounded our opponent to come back and win 40-39. A very satisfying win and fun bus ride home. 4-0.
Last night we were under-sized and this time, out-skilled. Our defensive stalwart had trouble with their best player, opening up the lane and creating easy rebounding opportunities for their front line, who didn’t miss many bunnies. It was not our night from the field and with no juice, we trailed 25-13 at half. We out-scored them 19-17 in the second half so the play improved but, while it was a butt-kicking loss, I’d like to play them again later on in the season. First loss of the season leaves a bad taste in my mouth as I consider what I could have done differently to help us win, and it didn’t take long for the answers to emerge in my mind. 4-1.
We are now 25% of the way through our schedule and know we have tougher and better teams ahead. But we’ll be stronger and more precise, too, as the season continues. Enthusiasm has been good, buy-in is there. Just need to continue getting better every day with effort and a positive attitude. It’s my job to build on what we have done so far and teach new ways to grow our success.
Having video and statistical support is vital to teaching and planning ahead. Using Hoopsalytics is a big advantage. Having the box score come to life makes teaching so much more immersive.
Onward and upward!