Monday, October 10, 2011

A Wild One

Dace playing defense.

  Of all the basketball games I've been involved with in 20+ years of playing (whoa, that's crazy when you say it like that), I've never had one quite like the one I played in on Saturday.

  We were matched up with one of our rivals, Calais (don't pronounce the 's'). Calais is about a 30 minute drive from Dunkerque, so the close proximity of the two cities always makes for intense games between the two teams. You know how rivalry games can be: close, physical games, enthusiastic fans, big momentum swings, and no matter how good or bad either team is that season, anyone can win. Saturday night was no different.

  We played Calais twice in the pre-season, with Calais winning both games. And Calais was off to a good start in our championship (league play), starting out a perfect 3-0. So one might say that Calais was favored to win.

  The first half was a good one for us. We played well, slowly building a lead. I have to say I was kind of surprised based on the way things were going in warm-ups. While we were warming up, I thought we were in trouble. Don't know what it was, but I felt like we weren't going to come out and play very good basketball. Happy to say I was wrong.

  So we went into halftime feeling pretty good about ourselves with a nine point lead. Maybe that's where we got into trouble. Sitting in the locker room, we could hear the other team getting screamed at. Awesome. You have to know that after getting yelled at by your coach, a good team is going respond by playing that much harder, and that much more aggressive.

  That's exactly what Calais did to open up the second half. Our nine point lead disappeared in about two minutes, and we were quickly on our heels. I have to say we did a pretty bad job of responding, and matching their intensity. We should have been prepared for what was coming, but we came out of the gate too relaxed, and feeling too good about ourselves.

  We scored FOUR points in the third quarter. FOUR!! In any other game, we would have been dead and buried. And for a while it felt like we were. We were turning the ball over constantly, and giving Calais easy baskets. Sure, they were playing intense defense, but it was nothing we hadn't seen before. So as the 4th quarter started our team morale was pretty down. If you looked at any one of us, you would have seen a defeated team.

  But even so, we were only down by about 10 points. I have to be honest, it felt like we were losing by at least 25. But we kept playing, and finally stopped the momentum that Calais had built. Before we knew it, it was a five point game. At that point, we all looked at each other, and realized the game was FAR from over. Five points was nothing, especially when there was five-plus minutes left in the game.We kept plugging along, and eventually tied the game.

  Fast-forward to the last 15 seconds in the game (sorry if my game recap skills are lacking, but it's a tough thing to do to sum-up your own game!!): The game was tied, and we had the ball. So the plan was to take the last shot of the game, and hopefully walk away with a win. We had a pick and roll at the top of the key, everything was going as we drew it up, and then the whistle sounded for a foul.

  As I had mentioned before, Calais had been playing some pretty aggressive defense the whole second half. So I guess, the refs finally decided to call them on it. Foul call on the drive with less than a second to go. Our point guard, Elodie, was headed to the line for two free throws. All we needed was one! She put the first one up, it hit the rim, bounced a few times, and rolled in. She jumped up and down at the free-throw line, and yelled 'YES'! :) The second one swished, putting us up by two with .7 seconds left in the game.

  Calais called a timeout, and drew up a play. They were going for the win. The last shot of the game was from the far corner, and from where I stood (around the free throw line area), it looked like a three-pointer. As I watched the ball in the air, my heart literally sank into my stomach. It looked like it was going in, and we were going to lose.

  Thankfully, the ball came up short, hit the front rim, and bounced off. We had escaped with a win somehow. That game epitomized the ups and downs of a game, and especially a rivalry game. It goes to show that you HAVE to play the whole 40 minutes. Sure, it's a cliche, but cliches usually end up being true. We thought we had the game won at halftime. Calais thought they had the game won after the 3rd quarter. Lucky for us, basketball is a 4 quarter game!

  We get to do it all again this Saturday, and play another rival, Armentieres. They're undefeated and in first place (and my friend Anna, who played at Colorado, is also on their team). So I'm looking forward to another wild and crazy game!! 

  I'm waiting on some more pictures from the game...hope to have those up shortly!! Come back and visit! ;) 
  ~ Sabrina


  1. Your friend Anna, who played at Colorado? Last name, Sabrina? Please.