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There Playing Basketball
Sirens and car horns honk and streets are gray but vibrate this is the heart of Brooklyn. My name is Jahaun Clarke. I go to St. Jerome school on 465 E 29th St. Brooklyn New York. My friends and I are all great b ball players. This year we might even win the CYO diocese of Brooklyn league championship.
My pal Oscar says that his cousin is on the Holy Cross team a couple miles away, and a kid named Abdi Hinney can dunk the ball. Abdi is 6'10 230 pounds rumors says he's actually 19. He has a tattoo on his neck like Allen Iverson and one on his arm. He's the best player in NYC.
Later today I have b ball practice and Oscar, JoJo and Arnold are gonna walk with me to the school. " Knock, Knock , Knock" I hear Arnold laugh, I joke " Who is it I'll can the fuzz." "HAHAHAHAHA everyone laughs. I get my stuff and we head downstairs of my apartment building.
I live on Bedford Ave. Is which is 5 blocks away from the school. As soon as we exit my building we see a couple of chums from Bishop Ford school. " Yo!" the smaller one shouts. " I hear that there gonna close your joke of a school down." JoJo yells back " Shut up you dirty disgrace of life, who cares our team is gonna win it all this year!" The talller one laughs " Keep thinking it, Abdi gonna kick your butts. He's gonna eat you clowns." JoJo runs across the street punches the small one and takes out his knife and yells " Go away scumbags!" The taller one stumbles and runs all the way back to 56 street. Well almost.
"JoJo what are you doing!" yells our coach as he stops his car. JoJo has his pocket knife out in public in NYC. " Come on boys get in my car. I'll drive you to the gym." It was silent in the van and all I was thinking about was Abdi. Man he's a monster.
Basketball ended and Oscar asks me if I want to go to the movies with him and his girl Bonnie " Bonquiqui" Jackson. I say nah I got to go. I leave the outdated gym and start heading back to my place. I see the lights of the city, man I love this city.
When I get home I see my older brother. " What are you doing here? Why aren't you in Manhattan?" He plays b ball for Manhattan U and he's there starting small forward.
" Little bro, I'm home because pops says you have your first b ball game tomorrow."
“ Ya, I do, it should be an easy win. But you never know.” Jahaun says
“ Who ya playing?”
“ Queen of All Saints.” I reply.
I wake up on a mid- morning afternoon to a fresh smell of bacon, pancakes and OJ. I ask my mom were did pops and J'quan go she said to shoot hoops at Pier Park, 4 blocks away. But she also said my game is in two hours at P.S. 206 which is on the north side of Brooklyn. I ate and got my Blue and orange jersey and shorts on with my warm-up shirt and pants and I leave with my mom.
I get to the gym 30 minutes before the game begins and I see that my brother, his best friend Jamal , Mom and Dad are in the bleachers. I locate my locker room. I walk in through the bright painted doors and see JoJo, Arnold, Oscar, Ben, LaMichael, Xavier, Julius, Chandler and Tyron.
“ Hey” they all said.
Coach walks in after me and said “ Guys I know this is the first game of the season, but if we want to face Holy Cross in the tourney we need to do good in the season so whose me?”
“ Me!” We all shout.
“ So let's get them!” And we all ran out and did our pregame.
“Okay guys we'll start Chandler at Center, LaMichael at Power Forward , JoJo at Shooting guard, Jahaun at Point and Arnold at Small Forward. I''ll try to work the subs in gradually, Knights on three.”
“One, Two, Three, Knights!”
As we take the floor in our blue and orange uniforms, I see Queen of All Saints best player Alfonso Martin starring me down. Now the tip-off. Chandler wins the tip-off passes to me and I drive to their hoop, 2-0 us. Alfonso takes the ball out of bounds and dribbles up the court. He takes it right then left jukes my guys collapse in he dishes the ball out to No.22 and 22 hits a trey. 3-2 them Now it's my turn. I take the ball pass left then cut Arnold passes the ball back I fake my shoot Alfonso jumps I pass to Chandler 2 points us. 4-3. Alfonso gets the ball dribbles right by me dishes it to a big man and the big man goes up and Chandler jumps to block it. Chandler blocks it and throws it to JoJo who goes down court and gets a easy lay-up. Now it's 6-3 us.
At the end of the first quarter we are up 14-3. As we walk off the court for water our fans started chanting
“It's all OVER!” I was glad. Coach calls us over to the bench and he puts all the subs in.
“We're obviously gonna win so I'm putting in the subs for them to get monster playing time. So team on 3 1,2,3 .. TEAM!”
Xavier takes the ball up the court and bang! Alfonso picks his pocket and goes long 14-5 us. That was the pace for the second quarter. Alfonso broke out and scored 30 points. Now at half time it's 37-28 them.
As we walk into the lockeroom everyone's saying Xavier nice going we showed you up. I say “ Guys Alfonso is a good player and our fans are making him made. Which makes him good.”
“ Guys it's not over till the final buzzer. We can win this game! So let's get them!” yells Coach.
“ Ya!” says everyone.
The starters are back in a we were monsters. At the end of the third quarter it was 50 – 46 us. I was thinking all we need to do is shut Alfonso down. At the beginning of the 4th quarter. Alfonso was going up for a lay-up and Arnold hits him out of the way and bodies fly. Alfonso fakes cry, and Arnold gets a technical foul.
“ Come on Ref!” he yells “ I didn't do nothing!” The ref shakes his head. That's Arnold's fifth foul he's out of the game. Coach puts Julius in for Arnold. Alfonso hits all three foul shots. 50-49 us. They get the ball back, Alfonso gets the ball throws to No. 22 and 22 hits the trey with 2 minutes left 52-50 them. Darn! I thought. Next drive Alfonso picks my pocket and gets an open lay-up. One minute and ten seconds left and it's 54-50 them! I dribble up court and juke Alfonso out of his shoes dish the rock to JoJo he takes it and shoots swish from three! 54-53 them. Coach is yelling at us to press them. We do. They try to throw it to Alfonso. But we double team him so No.22 throws the ball down court to No. 34 but LaMichael picks it off throws it to me I get set shoot a trey it goes in. 56-54 us! We press again with only 20 seconds left. Alfonso gets the ball and dribbles juking at the same time. 15 seconds left he jukes out JoJo then LaMicheal all is left is Chandler. Alfonso jumps with 4 seconds left pulls a three and Chandler hakes him. He gets 3 free throws with 2 second left. It's intense. He makes the first one. To make it 56-55. He gets the ball from the ref. I see the determination in his eyes. I see his muscles bulge as he shoots the ball, it hits the rim goes high in the air hits the front of the rim goes around the rim and couple of times and quickly leaves the rim. He missed it! On the next one he made it. It's all tied up.
I get the ball out of bounds, there pressing. I see LaMichael juke his man and head up court. I run to the left and chuck the ball ¾ of the way down court LaMichael gets it at the second hash mark and goes for the lay-up he releases as time expires, it hits the back board, goes in we win 58-56! Everyone from the bench and the court run to LaMichael, we trample him were all cheering the stands abrupt in noise. I see Alfonso crying on the ground, I see No.22 smacking his head on the wall after all he was guarding LaMichael.
We shake hands with the other team and then we run into the lockeroom. LaMichael starts singing “ Praise the lord!”
Coach comes in and says “ I expect all of you to be at mass tonight. It's the opening to the CYO basketball season. Were your orange jerseys tonight.”
“OK coach.” We call out.
“ Great win guys, tomorrow we face Holy Cross. Don't be scared guys. See you guys later, bye.” says Coach
“OMG!” Xavier says as soon as Coach leaves. “ Abdi on that team!”
Everyone says “Woooow.”
I say “ I got to go guys Oscar come to my house tonight we can walk to the Cathedral.”
I leave the school and see my brother talking to Jamal. “ Hey little brother! Big game. Nice. You kept that up, and you'll be playing for Duke.”
Jamal adds “Ya and not for UVM like me!”
We all laugh. I catch a ride with them and we head back to our house. I watch TV for the rest of the day. I am still scared of Abdi I'll probably see him tonight. I hope........
To Be Continued