Matthew played basketball for his school team this winter, and it was really enjoyable, both for Matthew and us parents. Matthew played for the second and third grade level team in the Catholic Youth Organization that ran the league. On balance they were an average team, but they did seem to get better as the season went on. They started the season losing and half way into the season were three wins and five losses. A couple were close losses, but some of them were blowouts. Then their team, the St. Rita Jaguars (his school is St. Rita’s Church), ran off five victories in a row, but unfortunately closed the season with three losses, for an overall record of eight and eight. Still the first twelve teams make the playoffs and St. Rita’s came in eleventh.
Playoffs are elimination rounds, so if you lose, you’re out. Their playoff game was against St. Patrick’s Church. During the season the two teams had played a marathon of a game. It was tied at the end of regulation time, and they had to play double overtime, both teams grabbing leads but losing it by the end of the quarter. In the third overtime, St. Patrick’s squeezed out a victory. So both teams were both evenly matched.
The playoff game was again evenly matched. St. Rita took a lead but St. Patrick came back, but ultimately St. Rita held on by one basket, 14-12. It was exciting because St. Patrick’s could have tied it at the end, but the ball failed to go into the hoop. Amazingly the Jaguars had won their playoff game, and got to move on. Here is a video clip from that game. Matthew is #44, they are in their road uniform in black, and Matthew tends to wear a white undershirt beneath the tank top. He is mostly on the far end of the camera.
Next up was another team that had beaten St. Rita’s during the regular season, Our Lady Help of Christians. Though they lost it was still a close game, and another evenly opponent. In this game, St. Rita was mostly down during most of the game, trailing as much as by six points. But they tied in in the fourth quarter and with three seconds to go their point guard, Jackson, drove for the basket and was fouled. All he needed to do was make a foul shot for the lead, and he sunk it! St. Rita won 15-14.
Here is a photo of Matthew trapping one of the opponents by the edge of the court and trying to take the ball. Again St. Rita is wearing the road black.
By the way, they wore the road black throughout the playoffs because their opponents all had better records during the season. With this second playoff win, they were in the Quarter Finals. Winner would go on to the championship game. This time, however, their opponent would not be an evenly matched one, but one that routed them easily, Church of Sacred Heart. There were two kids on Sacred Heart’s team that were just superior. One of them was a full head and shoulders taller than any of the kids. I wonder if he had gotten left back to be in third grade. But St. Rita scored the first point off a foul shot, and actually took a 1-0 lead. Sadly though, that was St. Rita’s only lead as Sacred Heart ran off 23 consecutive, unanswered points. The final score was 23-3. But what a glorious run. St. Rita got better as the season went on and far exceeded the expectations.
Here is a video clip from that last game. Matthew sees quite a bit of action in this clip. You’ll see him run behind one of the Sacred Heart players and steal the ball, unfortunately he passes it errantly back to them, the Sacred Heart kid drives for the basket, Matthew blocks his shot but fouls him. After the foul shots, Matthew is back in the St. Rita end of the court, gets a pass in the far corner, tries to take a shot but gets blocked. Here:
Here is a team photo, though incomplete; a few players somehow didn’t get in.
Did I already say this was a lot of fun for the parents too? I guess I did!