We were feeling extremely anxious as we walked into that small, crowded gym. Our girls varsity basketball team was coming off of a 14 and 6 season, and we were seed 10 in the tournament. We were about to play Notre Dame Academy, seed 7 with a record of 15 and 5. Despite the anxiety, our team prepared for this game like any other, with inspirational quotes, songs, and an intense warm up.
As the whistle blew and the game began, we quickly realized that it was going to be fast-paced. They had a strong 2-2-1 press that we had difficulty breaking, but they had no problem breaking our 1-1-2-1 press. We had trouble finishing, and they had unbelievable outside shooters that we didn’t challenge. We had also found one of our post players in foul trouble in the first minute. We didn’t feel as though we were getting fair calls, but we had to play with what we had, no excuses. At the end of the first quarter, the score board read Notre Dame 22, Hopkinton 4. We knew taht we had to step up our game if we wanted to turn it around.
The tension on the court and on the bench began to rise and we started to get frustrated. When we stepped onto the court in the second quarter, we dropped back into a 2-3 zone while they were still in their press. Unfortunately, we didn’t deliver the way we had all season, and the half time score was 41 to 11.
We went into the locker room after the buzzer and all tried to keep our hopes high. Our coach told us to keep fighting and play the way we know how. As the third quarter began, we saw that they had removed their press and showed them a half-court man-to-man. We came out pretty strong and made an effort to chip away their lead, getting out on their shooters and playing tougher inside. When the buzzer sounded the score was 55 to 25, but we had tied in points scored that quarter.
When the fourth quarter started both teams were in foul trouble, so any committed foul resulted in shooting. We kept up the intensity though, and put out a full court man-to-man which helped us get some steals and some points on the board. We were successfully breaking down their half-court 3-2 zone and made a strong effort to the final buzzer. The final score read 62-46.
When we looked back at the quarter, we saw it as a win because we had managed to score 14 more points than the other team. Still, when the buzzer sounded we all instantly deflated. That buzzer not only meant a loss, but it meant the end of our phenomenal season.
Our season was expected to have a record of 7 wins and 14 loses, which isn’t even good enough to make it to tournament. We completely shattered that prediction, and showed the TVL the strength of our team. We worked hard in every drill at every practice, and in every minute in every game. We had a strong bond that couldn’t be broken even through the fights, tough loses, and injuries throughout the season. The final buzzer may have meant the end of our season, but the bonds made throughout the year will last beyond high school basketball.