Ah, the story came to an end…
We were unexpectedly seeded 5th in the playoffs, despite finishing in a 3 way tie atop the division. Our section, in their infinite wisdom, decided the one team that beat us-who finished 4-8, had to be seeded ahead of us, and the team that beat them, ahead of them. It made zero sense.
on the bright side, we got an easily first round warm up game against a rebuilding team coached by a friend of mine, and then a rematch with the one team that had beaten us. We felt like we had given them that game, and we were determined to take it back.
I crafted a very specific game plan for my boys, a new experience for them since we rarely have scouts on opponents. They rose to the occasion and executed it perfectly, systematically taking our opponents out of everything they wanted to do. We were up by 16 at the end of the first quarter and never looked back. A very satisfying win, and an emotional high point for my boys.
this put us into a semi-final match up against the top seed, a consequence of our low seeding. They were an athletic squad with a not very creative half court attack. Played much like an AAU team, press and run. I felt if we could handle their press, we stood a very good chance against them. We went in confident.
then the season finally caught up with us. Because of the pandemic, there were no neutral site games this year, as there normally would be. The game was on Wednesday, and three of my starts had AP tests that morning. Then they drove what turned into a 75 minute commute through stop and go freeway traffic to get to the game (freeway accident) and arrived 30 late (just before tip off). Our opponent’s scout on us was NOT to press (we handle pressure well), but rather to run on everything. We started slow and tired, and by the time we woke up, we spotted them a 15 point lead, all full court transition buckets.
we adjusted, shut down their running game, and clawed our way back. We got it close, but didn’t have enough in the tank to get over the top after our poor start. They went on to become the division champs, and since I believe we could have easily beaten either of the other semi finalists, felt like we lost the championship game.
that’s the way it is with tourney ball, tho, innit? Only one team gets to end their season with a win.
I’m immensely proud of my boys. That we played this season at all goes down as a big win. That they played so well together seemed like icing on the cake.