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The Answer

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It all started in 7th period English. I felt them, those annoying butterflies you get in your stomach when you have a game. I looked down at my tie, and tried to focus on the lesson Mr. Langin was teaching us, but I was too excited. In about a half hour I would be on the bus to Paxon Hollow to play our game. It was a big game for me and some of my teammates, since we knew some of the kids on the other team. I really wanted to win this one. The bell rang, and I walked down to the locker room to get changed. I put on my uniform and walked out to the bus, to see my coach, the legend, Mr. Batt. He had a huge smile on his face as he saw our team. Our iPods in our ears, we all hopped on the bus, and drove to Paxon.

When we arrived, I was surprised how orange the school was, and how packed their gym was, their student section was frightening. My nerves grew stronger. Out of all the schools we had played, ours was the only school who seemed to have any student fans, but here they were just as large, loud, and just as good at heckling the opposing team. We walked into the locker room and got ready. We went over the game plan, and went out to the gym to warm-up. It was a great day for a basketball game. As the buzzer sounded, I went over to my coach. By now we were all pumped up and ready to go, as our coach had his last minute reminders, "Remember the plan. They play a tight zone, and like to speed the game up. Make sure to get it into our ball handler's hands, and remember NO THREES!" Our coach was very old-school, and since we were young, believed that the 3-point shot in basketball was just a waste of time...

As the five of us sprinted out onto the court for the opening tip, I felt my self getting more nervous. I ran over and shook the other team's hands, and stood around the circle. The ref dribbled the ball once, and threw it up in the air. Game on. Armand, our center, tipped it back to our point guard, Jai, and the game had begun. It took awhile for the nerves to settle in, but this was basketball, the game I had played for my whole life. I grew comfortable. As my first shot from the elbow rattled in, my nerves ceased to exist. The game turned out to be a close one, as we, the heavily favored team, were blowing an early lead we gained in the opening quarter. With two mintues left, it was all tied up 25-25. Neither team seemed to score a bucket for that last minute and a half, until Tommy D, probably the other team's best player, and one of my friends, scored a layup and was fouled, an and-one. He walked to the free throw line and swished the shot. 28-25. With thirty seconds to go, it was desperation for us, as we hadn't scored for quite some time. Our two primary ball handlers were nervous, and didn't want to man-up and take the last shot. The clock ticked down, 13, 12, 11... I ran over and called for the ball. Jai passed it the ball. I caught it and shot it. A three, the exact shot my coach hated, but it was something we needed, and needed it desperately. I missed.

That was when Tom, one of our big men, grabbed the ball, and frantically passed it back out to me. 4, 3, 2, and I grabbed it and released, ERRRNT, the buzzer sounded. Swish! I had made the basket and we were heading into overtime! My team ran over to me and we yelled and screamed in excitement. My coach just stood there, with a slight smile on his face, as he called us over. He told us to calm down, and forget about what happened. We hadn't won anything yet, we have a game on our hands! He sent the five players who were on the court back out, and play resumed. We won the tip, and I got the ball. Armand made a quick cut to the basket and scored. 30-28. It was now Armand's time to shine as he netted eight points in the final overtime, as we won the game 38-30. Armand was recognized as the hero, overcoming the horrible four quarters he had previously played, and playing as if he was the best player in the league in overtime, but the shot, the shot that made it all possible, is something I will never forget.





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