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Saturday February 6, 2010 - 3 PM - The post-game huddle found me consoling our full team knowing that we had just suffered a 2 point loss. I told the team to hold their head’s up high because they had played well and fought back from being down by 8 points. I reminded them of how well they played, how many steals they made, how many times they had frustrated the other team. I also shared great praises on their ability to put into the game all of the things we have been practicing over the past few weeks. And with that we yelled “Go. Go Black!” And went and gave the other team high 5’s.

I found myself going over the score sheet, of which I keep during the game and I realized that our Spartans scored 28 points, while the other team only scored 26. Instead of losing by 2, we actually beat them by 2 points.We were victorious and still have lots to be proud of regarding the way we played.

PLAYING FAIR - I have been so impressed with our team’s game play.Our players want to play by the rules, and they want to know when they cross the line of gaining too much advantage. In our practices I show them many tips regarding what they can do, WITHIN THE RULES, to gain advantage without playing dirty. This involves setting picks, rolling to the basket, Swiping down the ball to clear space, and stealing. Our players are quick to pick up on what to so and it is great to see them implement it into their game.

PlayerDIRTY PICK? - Yesterday in the first half of the game Joseph went down the court and out by the free throw line he set a pick and the opponent came towards him and Joseph leaned over and just about flattened the other player. Later in the game I talked to Joseph and he did not realize that when you set a pick you cannot lean or throw a shoulder. Instead of getting upset, Joseph listened to my guidance and went back out on the floor and set more fair and legal picks. Was Joseph’s pick dirty? I would say no because he did not realize what part of what he did was wrong. He made a mistake. Luckily the other player was able to get back up and was okay.But the great news is that Joseph learned how to do it and from here on out we will see equally great picks without anything movement that could be deemed as dirty.

DIRTY GAME PLAY - Each week we see one or two players on other teams play maliciously dirty. One week we had three of our players get smacked in the face.In our latest game their player #15 continually grabbed onto the jersey of whomever he was guarding. I find this frustrating as I have a zero tolerance policy for malicious dirty play. Their coaches can see what their players are doing and they should be putting a stop to it immediately, but they don’t. I am not talking about going for a steal and fouling. I am talking about grabbing, pushing, and taking advantage of the fact that the referee is going to let 95% of the stuff go. That is the drawback of this Orem City League. The powers that be seem to think it is better to not call anything or keep score. That all of the games are just for fun. What they don’t realize is that these young men want to know the rules and play within the guidelines. They are smart enough, old enough, and mature enough to play by the rules. We do them a huge disservice to look the other way.

PlayerREBOUNDS - Our team is really doing well with rebounding. I watched Andrew, Brayden, and Aaron pull down at least a dozen rebounds and that really helped our game. There were a few times where the other team got them because of sheer height, but I was glad to see that we were in the right position to make a play for the ball.

PlayerBRAYDEN’S EFFORTS - We have missed Brayden the last couple of games and it made quite a difference having him out on the court.They had a player of equal size and Brayden held his own against him. In 3 of the 4 quarters Brayden was able to get the ball into the hoop, usually as a rebound and put back. I was happy to see Brayden posting up and getting in the right position.
PlayerPlayerSTEALS & AGRESSIVE PLAY - Have any of you been paying attention to both Nick and Nate? These two guys are playing so hard.They are aggressive and playing great defense against the opposing players. Both had rebounds and steals in our latest game. It may not show up on the score sheet, but both of them are staying close to the other player and keeping them from helping their team. I enjoy watching both of them because they know when they have made a good play. Nick is getting steals and deflections in every game.He even got a rebound and almost made the put back shot. These two are becoming great defenders.
PlayerPlayerDRIBBLING AND PASSING - I was very impressed with Jesse, Tyson, Michael & Brady as they ran the offense. These guys did a good job of dribbling up the court and deciding whether to pass or drive to the bucket. Their vision is getting better and they are looking for fellow players.It is very exciting for me to see one of our players make the right pass and for us to get a good shot attempt.
PlayerMISSED SHOTS - I think I should play the Klondike Derby card and chalk up a lot of missed shots by the half of our team that spent the night prior camping in the snow. It was difficult coming back, unloading, and then rushing to the basketball game. The Klondike Scouters were Brady, Aaron, Tyson, Andrew, and Michael. I know that we could have scored another 20 points if we were a little more relaxed with our shots. We had lots of missed close range jump shots and lay-ups that could have easily gone in for two points. Brady performed especially well during the game, even though he had an upset stomach and was not feeling very well.He managed to make a couple of buckets and stayed aggressive the entire game. By the end of the game the Klodikers, including Coach Leavitt, were dead.
PlayerPLAYER #11 - 60% of the scoring for the other team came from one player. Yep, it was Player #11 and he played the entire game.We had several of our team try to cover him. Some had great success and others did not have any success. I do know what worked, and that was when our players stayed close to him and made him work hard for positioning and his shot.If you gave him any room at all, then he would eat us alive. In the first half of the 4th quarter he scored 10 straight points. That is a killer when both teams score under 30 points for the game. I was impressed with Aaron’s ability to stay with him and keep a hand up with every shot attempt while holding him to very few points. I was also very impressed with Joseph’s speed in catching #11 when he was breaking to the basket on a fast break. Let’s face it, Joseph is fast!
PlayerTEAM MATCH-UP - I also like playing against this team because they were as diversified in height and skills as we are. They had tall players and short players. They had very skilled players and some new to the game. Where we excelled over the other team is that our weaker players are no longer weak. This is due to practicing hard and learning. Where we had gaping holes the first couple of games, they have been sealed up and we are now very solid. I loved the fact that our smallest player Jesse actually had somebody the same size to play against.What I did not like was every time Jesse had the advantage over his player that one of the big guys would come over and double team for the block. Jesse would have had a dozen points if the other team had really played man on man.

COACHES DISPOSITION - I was amazed at the fact that the other coach was adamant in that he was going to play those who were the best and came to practice.If a player missed a practice, then he refused to play them or only give limited playing time. I asked him about the “Everybody plays at least half the game rule” and he basically said phooey. He was going to play who he was going to play and if the parents or league didn’t like it... then tough! I just smiled as I walked away from our conversation knowing that I was glad my son Aaron was not on his team.

1st 2nd 3rd 4th TOTAL
*Aaron - 2 4 -
*Andrew - - - -
*Brady - 2 - 2
Brayden 2 2 - 2
Jesse 2 - - -
Joseph - - - -
*Michael - - 2 4
Nathan - - - -
Nick - - - -
*Tyson - 4 - -
SPARTANS 4 10 6 8
OTHER TEAM 4 10 2 10

* Klondike Derby Attendee

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