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.

02 December, 2007

Another Monkey Falls

Three Eagles on defense, notice that their hands are up
Every organisation has its own stories and beliefs and the Wahluke Eagles are no exception. A year ago, one of our new players (Mr. Jiggles) mention that he hoped we had an overtime game, so we could play longer. To his astonishment, every veteran player and myself disagreed. We explained that the Wahluke Eagles hate overtime. The reason has a great deal to with the team we played on Saturday, our extra time nemesis the Kodiak Boyz. The Eagles and the Boyz have faced each other at least two times. Each time we played, we lost and both games went into overtime. Simply put, we hate extra time.

The boys played each other in Kittitas, which is a town that is pretty much equidistant between our respective homes. Kittitas is also close to Ellensburg, and that's where many of the Eagles teachers live. So for the first time we had fans in the stand besides Collin's parents. We were facing a team that beat us every time we played against fans, and the stage was set for familiar scenario of sluggish play and incriminating time-outs. But this year, the Eagles, like the phoenix have risen from the ashes.

From the opening tip-off to the closing whistle, the Eagles played team-ball. Every player on the court did his job and never gave-up. A few issues arose during the games and one player or two started to give-up or not follow the coaches directions, a willing and hard working replacement was quickly found on the bench.

One of these players, Jose deserves special mention. He went in several times and each minute he played he hustled. He used his speed and height to box-out, get rebounds, and even take the ball coast to coast for a lay-in. And when he lost the ball, he literally threw himself in the air trying to knock the ball back before it crossed the midway line while his body hit the floor hard.

Collin too did his part. It ought to be noted that he is a fourth grader playing a sixth grade squad. On defense, he kept his hands up. He used his speed and hustle to make a steal and snag an offensive rebound. Not bad for a nine-year old.

Antonio returned to the offensive game with a season high 12 points. One play of his though also deserves special attention. There was another loose ball and Tony made a break for it. He reached the ball and made two quick conclusions. First, he saw Oscar coming and secondly, he knew that he wouldn't be able to get ball and control it. So he lunged toward the ball and deftly slapped it toward Oscar who received it. Oscar, Tony, and Alan were also involved in several fast breaks and rapid passes that lead to points. And as the fourth quarter wound down, Antonio had several baskets that kept the game out of reach.

Big Man Dario made his mark with a season high twelve rebounds that included five offensive boards. He got the ball, kept his hands up, executed a pivot step, and an outlet past to one of the other players. Dario boxed out as well and his defensive hustle effectively neutralized the Kodiak's big man.

Librado made the most of his limited minutes as well. He started the game and did well but was removed when he twisted his ankle badly and had to be helped off the floor by Juan and myself. He sat on the bench with his shoe off, ice bag on his ankle, and giving us plaintive looks with his big green eyes asking to go back in the game. He went in sometime in the fourth quarter and made a crucial play. The Kodiaks were nipping at our heels and were just two or three points behind, when Librado worked his magic. I think it began with a Dario rebound, followed by passes to Alan, Oscar, Tony, and then to Librado. He took the ball to the left side of the hoop and laid the ball in just as a Kodiak knocked him out of bounds. The basket counted and he made his foul shot. We had a five point lead and never looked back.

Oscar too did his part. Early in the game when Librado was hurt and the coaches were tending to him, Oscar realized that the other team was getting pointers from their coach, so he called the boys in for an impromptu huddle. He moved the ball well too, getting the ball into Dario's hands.

When the game ended, the final score read 42-30, Eagles on top. The Eagles won because they played hard, hustled back, kept their hands up, and boxed out. Better put, the Eagles achieved victory because the played like a team. Both Oscar and Tony commented, it was a team win all the way.

Oscar (14 points, 3 steals), Dario (7 points, 12 rebounds), Librado (3 points), Alan (4 points, 7 rebounds), Tony 12 points, 1 rebound, 3 steals), Jose (2 points, 5 rebounds, 1 steal), Collin (2 rebounds, 1 steal)



Blogger John said...

Well done on a tough victory!

December 03, 2007  

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