Wahluke Eagles

This blog describes the joys of coaching an AAU basketball team from Mattawa, WA. Our team and town is roughly 90% Mexican. The blog celebrates and describes life in a central Washington town through the eyes of the players and their coaches.

Location: Mattawa, Washington, United States

I work as a School Psychologist in the Wahluke School District. When I am not coaching I enjoy fishing, reading, and riding my bike.

15 April, 2007

Springing Into Victory

Fruit Cup shoots during the halftime break
The Wahluke Eagles began the Spring season with a victory over Sunnyside Christian with a 58-43 win. Using speed, stealth, and ball control, the diminutive Eagles overcame a taller Sunnyside squad. After a bitter fall and cold winter, the victory meant a great deal to the players and coaches.

When the game began, the Eagles opened up a six point lead at the end of the first quarter by a margin of 16-10 but Sunnyside responded by forcing their big men into the paint and laying in the ball. Inconsistent boxing-out lead to the Eagles loosing the lead. A late steal and fast break lead to a half time tie of 27 a piece. During the break, the coaches reminded the players to relax, box-out, and use their speed to overcome the disparity in inches.

Midway through the third quarter, the Eagles tore ahead with a play that was as sudden as it was decisive and it all began because a player didn't hear the coaches. Co-captain Gabino was on the bench resting up and the coaches instructed him to go in for Librado, as he was waiting for the call to come in, his coaches yelled not Librado but Eduardo. Gabino nodded like he understood but as he entered the court, Librado was the player that exited. One simple miscue triggered the turn around that occurred a minute later.

A Sunnyside player was bringing up the ball and Oscar and Tony were pressuring him on the Sunnyside half of the court. Meanwhile unseen by anyone, Eduardo left his man, sneaked up behind the Sunnyside player, stole the ball, and executed a fast break pass to an already running Oscar. A quick basket and the Sunnyside lead was cut in half. What followed was a rapid series of steals, fast breaks, and quick shots and soon the Eagles had fifteen point lead.

Midway through the final frame, the Eagles shifted gears from fast breaks to a series of offensive passes to chew up minutes off the clock. The first slow down play was a stunning contrast after the rapid succession of fast break plays. All the players kept the ball until challenged then they passed the ball to a teammate. The first play felt like the Eagles held the ball for over a minute before finding the open man for the lay-in. Sunnyside tried to mount a response but the Eagles kept them at bay.

When the final buzzer sounded, the Eagles rejoiced. This victory was no fluke. The Eagles have spent hours and countless drops of sweat working on the fast break, press breaker, running, and diving for loose balls. Off the court, the players worked on keeping up their grades and making good choices, and despite the absence of Big D due to a two game suspension and Me Duele due to illness the team came together and won the game. Spring time in Mattawa means blossoms on the fruit trees, the asparagus harvest, and signs that the Eagles hard work on and off the court is bearing fruit.
Game statistics Oscar (26 pts, 3 steals, 1 reabound), Alan (1 rebound, 2 blocks), Tony (8 points, 2 steals, 2 rebounds), Christopher (2 rebounds), Gabino (3 points, 2 steals, 2 rebounds), Jesus (2 points), Librado (2 points, 1 steal, 2 rebounds), Jose (2 attempted free throws), Eduardo (14 points, 5 steals, 1 rebound)


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