One of my first thoughts upon becoming JV coach at Winter Springs was to locate the freshman point guard from last year’s team and make sure he plays. I didn’t know his name, but I remembered how much he did against our freshman team. In both games, he was literally all they had. At our introductory parent’s meeting, I didn’t see him, but at our first second open gym, I saw him shooting at a basket and was relieved.
His name is Anthony Valdez. Tonight he had 32 points and hit a bank shot in the lane at the buzzer to beat Evans.
By any standard this was a thrilling JV game. I was concerned going into the game as there was some miscommunication regarding the freshman game with Evans failing to show. Our freshman had a scrimmage. The Evan’s JV team didn’t arrive until 15 minutes before our schedule tip off, which left our players to start wondering if they would show at all. This sort of uncertainty seldom helps an immature group such as our.
We started the game well running out 14-2, but fell apart as Evans got hot from three point range and closed the quarter on a 19-3 run to lead 21-17. I was furious. Mr. Charm handed me my clipboard as he asked if I wanted it, and I threw it behind the bench yelling that we didn’t need a clipboard to tell us we were playing like shit.
We responded better in the second quarter, but truth be told, Anthony and Devon Ortiz kept hitting shots to keep us in the game. They combined for 55 points on 9/12 shooting from three point range. We led 33-32 at the half.
We broke first in the third quarter and got up 41-32, but a disturbing pattern developed for the remainder of the game. We would grow the lead to 10-12 points and be on the cusp of making things comfortable, but would make a few dumb plays and Evans would pull within a possession or two.
As the game wound down, Evans was within two and had the ball with 35 seconds to play. They called a timeout at 12 seconds. We stayed in our zone defense and told the team we get one stop we win. On cue, some guy that hadn’t done much all night hits a three from the deep corner with a hand in his face to give them a 65-64 lead. Then things got interesting.
We considered a time-out, but decided against it as we got the ball in quickly and started to push it up the floor. Simultaneously the official behind the play called a foul on Evans, and the official in front of our bench gave us a time-out as several of our players were apparently signalling for one. Our player Aaron Penn played through the foul and threw up a 60 foot shot that banked in. A huddle of officials followed where upon it was decided the time-out preceded the foul and 60 foot shot. Fortuitously, we inbounded the ball at midcourt with five seconds to play and called sideline 2, our special inbounds play to score.
The play was designed for Anthony and he was wide open, but our inbounder hesitated and passed to Devon at midcourt. He drove to the basket and through up floater that came off the front of the rim, Anthony caught the ball and shot it off the glass in one motion. WE WIN!
We are 7-2, and 2-0 in district play. Both wins by one point. Real proud of the guys. Seminole tomorrow night. LET’S GO!