Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Diary Of A Baller: Otis "The General" Livingston (NJ Got Game) Entry #21

What’s happening?

We started off our AAU season with two tournaments this past weekend. We entered the 15u States (division I) and the Playaz Spring Fling (14u). During the week we practiced hard. We ran plays so we will not forget anything in the games. We ran set plays, and out of bounds plays. We also worked on shell defense and talking on defense. We worked on the press break and the different options off of the press break. Being prepared is more than half the battle.

Our first game was on Thursday. We played the NJ Panthers in the Spring Fling. We started out slow, but then our offense got going and we ended up winning by about 12. Defensively we gave up too many layups and didn’t get enough rebounds. Friday we played NJ Blaze in Neptune for the 15u states. Once again we got in a hole and we had to dig ourselves out. They are a tough team that you can’t take lightly because they’re fundamentally sound and they can shoot the rock. I didn’t think I shot the ball very well personally, but none of us were making shots and we ended up losing by 2.

Our next State game was early Saturday morning against the Roadrunners. We started out pretty even because our plays worked and we got baskets. They are a very aggressive defensive team so we ran some back door plays and they worked. We were down 3 with about 6 minutes left in the game and we let it get away from us. We got beat on the press a couple of times and they scored easy layups. They got easy rebounds and put backs and we turned the ball over and missed a few layups and ended up losing by 12 to them. Overall we played a really good game though. We were outsized and we played hard. I really wanted that one. We didn’t have long to think about that loss because we were on to the next game at 1:00 in the Spring Fling.

We played the Playaz 13u and we came in and did what we were supposed to do. We got rebounds and lots of fast break baskets. We also got 2nd chance rebounds and baskets. We ended up winning by a lot, which gave everyone rest because the quarterfinal against the Philly Aztecs was later that day.

To start the Philly Aztecs game we were ready and pumped. We got buckets off of cutting to the basket against the zone. They played a 1-3-1 and a 2-3. We worked against those defenses a lot in practice and it felt good to see our plays work. At half time they were up 4. We knew we had to finish our layups and get rebounds because they were out rebounding us. In the 3rd we made a run and we were up 7. We lost some focus and they made a run. Coach Pete always says that basketball is a game of runs. In the 4th they were up 2 with 30 seconds and Jadon hit a clutch floater to tie it. With 1.6 seconds left we committed a foul and they hit one free throw and won the game. That one will hurt because we were up and we let it get away from us.

On Sunday to end the weekend we played St. Michaels, our last State game. We were up early 8-2, but then they went from playing man to a zone and we were down 14-8. They were just out toughing us and getting the rebounds. We were making stupid mistakes and they were capitalizing on them. At half time we were down 6. Coach Pete told us that if we didn’t turn it up then there wouldn’t be a single ball at practice and we would just run sprints. That woke us up and we came out hard. We got more rebounds and started pushing the ball more. It was late in the game and we were down 1. Jadon came through again and hit a floater to go up 1. History repeated itself because we fouled with 10 seconds to go and they hit two free throws and they were up one. We ran a play but it didn’t work out and we lost by 1. We were really disappointed with ourselves and Coach Pete was disappointed too. We lost three of our games by 4 pts. total. We talked a lot about making one play, one more rebound, one more layup, one more steal, one less turnover, or coming up with one more loose ball. At practice all we’re going to do is run and do boxing out drills.

But we will be back, this is only the beginning.

The General is OUT!