Hi all this is Coach Sealy. I wanted to share with you an incredible experience me and my 10th grade boys had this past weekend in Albany. This is our second year participating in this tourney and after last years disappointment of losing our first and only game on Sunday after going 2 and 0 on Saturday, my boys came to Albany this year looking for retribution and opportunity to show who we are. Saturday started off in confusing fashion. We were told we got the win via forfeit since the team were suppose to play was not at the gym. The organizer pulled together a group of players for us to play against so we can get a run in. Just minutes after the scrimmage began, in walks the team we were slated to play. Once again, my boys had to shift gears by changing their mindset and approach. The win we were told we had, now had to be earned. As a competitor, you prepare your mind for the competition. All your focus and energy is channeled to that end. When things change, it is difficult to keep that mental edge. This was the first incredible moment of the weekend, my boys did exactly that. They stepped on the floor competed and came out victorious. There was a 3 hour wait till our next game. As my boys stepped on the floor for their next game, the next 3 to 5 minutes were a complete shock. They were flat, lacked energy, and was just awful. The score quickly ballooned to 12 to zip. The game quickly and continually got out of reach. As a coach you know when it isn’t your night, and this was clearly the case for us. After the game, we met as we always do after each game and I simply told them that we can ill afford to allow teams to jump on us and expect to come back. I also said we needed more energy from the start on Sunday if we want a chance to continue to play deep into the tournament.
As a result of our second place finish in our pool, our next game was set for Sunday at 11:45am. During my pre-game speech, I reiterated that we need to start with better energy. They came out and played the way I expected and we got the win. We are now in the semifinals and guess who was there waiting for us, the team that spanked us the night before. As I sat and watched my boys warm-up as well as their opponents, it became clear to me that the other team thought they had the game won before it started. I made sure to point that out to my boys. It’s game time now and it looked as though it was going to be a repeat of the previous night. They jumped on us again and now the score was 12 to 2 within the first 3 to 5 minutes. It would be stretched to 22 points during that first half. We made a flurry at the end of the first half to bring the lead down to 17 points at the half. This is where the second incredible moment of the weekend took shape. My halftime speech was simple at best. I told the boys to break the second half into four 4 minute increments. The goal for the first 4 minutes was to get the lead to single digits, WHICH THEY DID. The goal for the second 4 minutes was to get the lead to five points, WHICH THEY DID. The goal for the third 4 minute increment was to get the lead, WHICH THEY ALMOST DID. The goal for the last 4 minutes was to not only get the lead, but to go for the win, WHICH THEY DID AND IN SPECTACULAR FASHION. For those last minutes, it felt as though our game was the only one being played. Every person in that gym was focused on our game witnessing one of the most unbelievable experiences I have ever had the pleasure of being apart of. Those last 4 minutes are forever etched in my mind. These boys not fought all the way back from a 22 point deficit, they did it with POISE, COMPOSURE and SELF-BELIEF that they could do it. They took the lead (which was our first and only lead) with 15 seconds to go in the game on 3 pointer from our point guard Nate Martin. They then went back on the defensive end and got not one but two defensive stops to seal the win. The elation, relief, and joy erupted not only from my boys, but from me, their parents and all that had the opportunity to witness this SPECTACULAR come from behind victory. With that win, we were in the championship game. We had come full circle from last years disappointment. Although we would lose that championship game, we gained RESPECT, CAMARADERIE, and TRUST.
Thank you boys for providing me with an UNBELIEVABLE experience.