Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Diary Of A Baller: Jalen "Young One" Henriquez (New Jersey) Entry #22

Hello Basketball World,

This week I want to do things a little different, not just talking about what I do as an individual on the court, but what we do as a team. This week is the picture of my team and the success we had team. They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, last week losing by 1 made us stronger and because of that game we won, this week we were going to have off, but we all wanted to play. So our coach, Ozzie found a tournament that we could play in last minute. Being that this was not as elite tournament we had to play up in the 16U division of the 5 on 5-bball shootout. Our first game we played the Sparta Bruins, which we lost by 14. This was a JV team of all sophomores and a few juniors. Our 2nd game we played a dirty team from Toms River. Because they were upset at being blowout by a 15U team, they hurt my teammate Robert Zeller. He was elbowed in the head and then pushed down to bang his head. It was scary seeing him down and being taken out on a stretcher. I know from experience what that feels like, something similar happen to me last year. It’s a very big head ach the next day. Thank God he is good he only had a concussion, could have been worse. We also had to move to another gym because he couldn’t move and ambulance had to come. But in the end we beat them by more then 20 points.

Sunday we played a team that lost to Sparta by 1pt in over time, they were a very big, tough team. I think they might have been football players. The game was up and down trading the lead. We went on to win by 7 points. As a team we were beat up, but we had the championship game right afterwards. We had only a 15-minute break before the championship game, which was not very well spread out. The top two teams advanced to the championship so we had to play Sparta for it all. We run for hours in particle, which pays off in situations like that. So on 15mins rest and banged up we started the championship game. We started out down 10pts before we scored our 1st basket due to fatigue from the previous game. But after realizing what we were playing for we “turned it up” as we like to say and started to ball. I also think we wanted it more than they did, I don’t know about them, but this was our first championship game during this long slump we were in. We work way too hard in practice to let it slip away. They had one guard who completely ran their offense, our coach told us from the door that he makes them go and we had to take him out. All of our guards also did a good job of penetrating and making there “star player” work on both ends of the floor. This kid was beyond far from Kobe but what LA does with Kobe is puts him on the easiest offensive threat to guard so he can kind of rest on defense, that way of offense he can be the “black mamba”. They were trying to something similar with this kid and we as a team did a good job of making him work. We were down 3 at the half, and after the break is when shots started dropping. We were knocking down 3's and playing up-tempo as we wanted. Even though the majority of the gym at Hoop Heaven was pulling for them, it was our 17u team and parents the got us hyped and kept cheering all game long, so shootouts to them for that. Another funny thing was the team we had just beaten stood to cheer for them to beat us. So we were out numbered in the gym. But we just stood strong and kept coming back at them every time and in the end balh we won the chip by 10.

Another thing that people say is that you never miss something until it’s gone. Not that it was a good thing but in a way it felt better to win one after going so long with out it. Before, we had so much success that winning championships was like just another one to add to the collection. But this one meant more than that after not getting one in so long to finally get one, a remarkable feeling.

“Winning isn't everything, but the will to win is everything.” –Vince Lombardi…Young One Out