It was a snowy weekend when we traveled to the Danvers Indoor Sports complex for our first game. We were matched up against a tough Franklin team that was one of the best teams in the Metrowest league. We were still a little sleepy as I led the teams in their pre-game routines. As an assistant coach, I'm able to sit on the court and tell everyone to box out, but I don't have to worry about coaching a kid up when his shot isn't going down or he is suffering from mal-defense (my unique term for the lack of defensive toughness). Franklin's interesting strategy of 2 minutes in, 2 minutes out was wearing us down. They would just flat out sprint for two minutes and then go to the bench. It was an interesting strategy. Ultimately, we were able to pull that game out by 5. I can still remember the squeaky voice on the Franklin Head coach.
Onto Sunday. Our first game in the Semi Finals was against our fierce rivals, Braintree. Despite being three times as big, we were always giving them a good fight. This would be the same type of game. Low scoring through out (They had a kid who just played a one man zone who would block every shot like he was Manute Bol), we were able to beat the bigger team by 10 points in a low scoring 29-19 game. Thank God we hit a lot of our free throws because we could not get anything going offensively.
We knew our opponent in the Championships was going to be Canton again as they staved off a smaller but quicker team from Lawrence in their Semifinal Match-up. They looked like they were ready to play as their parents were too. They were circus-ready. On top of that, this was the culminating game as 5th Grade was the oldest group and we were in the most high profile bracket. It was a loud and noisy gym as the two teams began the tip. It was clear though from the first couple of minutes that the Canton team was going to run out of steam. They seemed fired up and could not get anything to go down. Their two bigs were again stymied by our guys and had to come out. One for crying, the other one because he fouled out. Our lead grew to double digits in the Second Half and we cruised to a State Tournament victory by winning by 15 points. What a great success!
The kids were celebrating, the parents were celebrating, the Coaches were shaking hands. We were jubilant. Alright I used that word like I was tilling the ground in the 1950's Indiana. Don't mind me, we're just celebrating a great performance. Good for them.