Sunday, April 16, 2006

The Class of '99 Falls

Every year over Christmas break, since the year I graduated, my high school has held an alumni basketball tournament. Every year, that is, until this year when the current Hayfield High School coach decided it wasn't worth his time to host it. This, of course didn't go over very well with all of the alumni who plan on playing every year. It wasn't held, though, no matter the amount of interest in it... until yesterday.

Coach Pack must have received enough gruff from people to make up for not hosting it over Christmas and doing it now over Easter break. There wasn't as much participation yesterday in comparison to Christmas time, but that was to be expected because more alumni are away from home during this time than at Christmas. The tournament went on, though, which was great news for me.

It was such good news for me because the last two years I had been unable to play because I was horribly sick both years. But this year! Yes, this year I could play. Last year, our graduating class of '99 won the entire tournament so we had to defend our title which, sadly, we didn't do. We were eliminated in two straight games, but both of them quite close.

Our first game was against the class of '03. We let them get out to a really strong lead, mostly because of their ability to hit 3 pointers like they were layups, but in the second half we closed what was a 15 point gap to 2. With about 30 seconds left I had the chance to tie the game with a pretty wide open shot, but it rimmed out. After we fouled them and they made one of two of their free throws, our leading scorer had a chance to fire off a three to tie it, but it clanged off the rim. We lost 66-63.

I only had 3 points in the game, but that is consistent with the style I've always played. Scoring was never something I was a whiz at. More often than not my role was to be a facilitator for the offense and a strong defender. I'd hit a three pointer now and again when I was open, but I'm not a slasher type of offensive player.

Our second game was against the class of '05. This game went a little different than the last. We jumped out to a good lead, but most of the entire second half it was a battle with neither team getting ahead by more than 6. When it came down to it, again we were down by 2 with about 10 seconds to go. Our leading scorer missed the shot to tie again. So we were forced to foul. They made both of their free throws to put us down by 4.

As one of our players went up for a shot with about half a second left, he was fouled and made the shot. So we were down by two with half a second left. We needed to miss the foul shot and tip in the rebound. Our guy missed the foul shot, sure enough, but when one of our guys got his hands on the rebound, he got hacked to pieces but the ref just let the time go without calling anything. Ah well, whatever, it was fun regardless. This second game in which we lost 56-54, I had 13 points, to my surprise. Four free throws and three three pointers.

All in all it was a great time and fun to get back together with the guys that I used to play ball with in high school over six years ago. Where did all that time go? Craziness.

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