Thursday, October 11, 2007

Late Surge Gives Us Victory in Season Opener

I'm excited to report that our team is much improved this season with our new additions. This summer our problem was with rebounding and toughness, and the two guys we added are scrappy and hit the boards hard. I think once we get in better playing shape and learn to gel a little better as a team, we will be tough to beat.

Last night was no walk in the park, but we came away with the victory. Here's roughly how it went:

After trailing by a basket or two for most of the first half, we battled back to make it a knotted 23-23 at halftime. Our shooting as a team was horrendous, and we allowed them to penetrate the lane a little too easily for easy scores. The first 15 minutes of the second half were terrible, as our opponent built an 11 point lead (48-37) on us with five minutes to go (the games are two 20 minute halves with a running clock until the final two minutes of the game, in which the clock stops just like it would in a regular basketball game).

We started the comeback when I hit a three pointer to make it 48-40. Then, over the next few minutes we picked up our defense, pressing full court man to man. Thanks to some luck and our increased defensive pressure, our opponent missed some shots and made some key turnovers that allowed us to come back. With the score eventually at 51-48 them, David Hwang - my former colleague at Synnex - hit a three-pointer from the top of the key, tying the match at 51. Now, the score was tied at 51 and there was only 22 seconds left, but their ball. Lucky for us they botched the inbounds play, making it our ball with 16 seconds left.

Here's what happened next:

I took the ball and dribbled up the court, thinking about how I would take the last shot. However, my man was on me tight so I passed to the top of the key from the left wing, and then circled under the basket making it to the right wing. My teammate at the top of the key now with the ball passed it to the guy now on the left wing, who was wide open for a 15 footer. There were 7 seconds left as he took the shot. As he hurled it up, I dashed into the key from the opposite side of the court. The shot was short, and ricocheted off the rim in my direction. I jumped up in the air and grabbed the ball, landed, and then jumped right back up and attempted to score the game winner with 2 seconds left on the clock. I was unable to get an attempt though because two players on the other team were in my face. Luckily, I was fouled! With two seconds on the clock in a tied 51-51 game, I was on the line with two chances to seal the deal. I love this sort of an opportunity, and pride myself on coming through in situations like this. The first free throw is obviously the most important because if missed, the pressure escalates exponentially to make the second one. Knowing I did not want to put myself in that predicament of having to make the second shot to avoid an overtime, I concentrated hard to just relax and stay confident, blocking out any negative thoughts. Luckily for me and my team, both free throws went in. With not enough time to get off a legitimate shot, the opponent hurled a 50 footer at the buzzer that didn't even come close.

What a comeback!

Despite the exciting victory, we should have been able to win without all the drama, and quite frankly, got a little lucky that our opponent made so many mistakes down the stretch. I'm looking forward to seeing how well we can come together as team over the course of the season because if we do, I think we can become league champions.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good thing you got all that practice at the BIG C! HAHA.