The Lake City Tigers were a team that us Bombers couldn’t stand. We always faced off in sports and they seemed to win by the tiniest amount every time. They never blew us out of the water. They usually just barely beat us. Soon again we would be playing them in the most intense contest, basketball. We had always found a way to somehow throw away our lead in the fourth quarter and end up losing the game. The last time we played them, their best player, Reed, hit a three point shot with eight seconds left and we lost by one single point. That game was in the past though. We had another game coming up against them and we had been practicing extremely hard all week. We also had been game planning on how to shut down their best player. This game was going to be ours.
Before the first quarter had even begun, we were watching them warm up and had already became nervous. All week in practice we had a huge boost of confidence, but now once we see them warming up it seems like it is all over. The ref threw up the tip and my teammate soared up and slapped the ball. Straight to Drew and a quick pass to Luke, off the backboard and in. An easy lay-up to start the game, a good confidence booster right away. Then the Tiger’s stud fired right back, a pull-up jump shot from the free throw line totally splashing the shot. We scored back and forth with their stud, Reed, having their first eight points. He destroyed our confidence once again. We were down two heading into the second quarter, and coach told us to keep fighting.
Fighting is exactly what we did. We came out in the second quarter with a new technique to defend Reed with 12 points already. Coach told me to guard him and he said, “get in his face, don’t let him touch the ball.” Of course as a panicking and fearful kid, I said “Okay coach, I won’t let him.” I was then very nervous, but I realized that I needed to believe in myself. I went up to Reed and got uncomfortably close. It was like I was glued to him. He couldn’t touch the ball, and he was getting extremely frustrated. This technique was working great! Reed wasn’t scoring and he was too mad to play defense. We went into halftime leading by 10 points, but that’s when we got chewed out the most. Coach was so fired up, I thought he was going to explode. He was bright red yelling at us to keep on flooring it. We came into the locker room too confident as if we had already won, and that is why we were screamed at. We focused up again and realized the game isn’t over and we need to stay serious.
The third quarter came and we were up by ten. Although it only felt like a one point lead. The game was still as intense as before. The Tigers were not ready to give up. Later in the quarter, our ten point lead became a one point lead after Reed and his teammate and buddy, George, hit three three-pointers back to back to back. The momentum flipped sides, except one thing was different this time. Us Bombers weren’t going to quit this time. Coach didn’t work us this hard all week to lose this game. The lead bounced back and forth like a game of ping pong. We finally finished the third quarter up by one, it was 37-36. Coach then told us “We have them where we want them. Now we have to stomp on the neck, and twist!”
In the fourth quarter we stomped on them hard. We scored six points in under two minutes and then all we had to do was twist. Twisting would just be to shut down their stud. Although Reed wasn’t quite ready to give up yet. He came down and bombed a three-pointer from way back, as if he was just playing a game of “horse.” Soon after we dropped a few more buckets on his head, and he finally lost confidence. Reed wasn’t scoring because of our defensive tactics, and he also wasn’t playing defense. We finally put them away with about two minutes left in the fourth. Reed got benched and then we ran out the clock. Our team, the Bombers won by 12 over the “mighty” Tigers.
We fought a tough battle after a tough week of practice and came out on top. All the hard work really payed off and the feeling of victory was worth it. Our team learned that if you have confidence you can accomplish almost anything you put your mind to. We never gave up in the slumps of the game and that mindset brought us to the win. Having a confident mind with a hard working attitude will allow you to take down the toughest challenges and I think our team proved that against the Lake City Tigers.