Out the door at 5:30AM and on a bus for three hours to Suzhou. JV (D2) boys team gets the early games starting at 9:00AM. Varsity (D1) doesn't play until 2:00PM.
Ugh. Rough start to the day. D2 boys played slow and uninspired. We couldn't get them up for the second half of both games and they lost after having a half-time lead. They were a bit out-talented by both schools. Many schools at these tournaments only bring one team. Either a D2 or a D1. We brought both. They don't have enough kids to have two teams, so if they if don't win enough in their league season they get pushed down to the D2 tournament. Shanghai has actual league play. We don't.
D1 team came out on fire. Our athletic director gave us a heads up that many Shanghai teams like to press so we ought to put some time into a press break. We did last night. It paid off. I installed "press break 3". A play I remembered coach Chili used back in the day. It was perfect. After three easy layups they called it off and we destroyed them. Final was 44-22. Big assist to our AD Felipe. First game was against a sister school (SCIS of Shanghai) that used to be part of the same company with HIS. They've since divided into separate districts, but it's created a rivalry. Emotions were high.
We got a first round bye so beating SCIS put us in the title game against WISS (West Shanghai). Game started as a crawl. Neither team had much momentum. We missed several bunnies (layups) and they got ahead. They had a big kid in the middle that had a game similar to Jokic from Denver. Big and slow. Not terribly athletic, but smooth and smart. A good finisher near the hoop. Used his size well. Midway through the second quarter we had our point guard put mad pressure on their ball guard. It turned the intensity up in the game and we just willed victory through sheer determination. The rest of the team picked it up too and created tons of turnovers. They just wanted it more. It was inspiring to watch and be a part of.
First place hardware feels good. ACAMIS tournament next weekend is a three day affair. We've got great momentum heading into it.
I had a Hoosiers moment that Shane would love. With a two point lead under a minute they started to foul. We called a time out and I drew up the picket fence to get the ball into our best shooters hands. He drained several free throws and we pulled away. This season has been a great experience for me because I'm being asked (allowed) to do what I do best with this team. I drew up the playbook. I call plays. I'm the Xs and Os guy while the head coach Sean does the motivating. Good partnership. Thinking of Jenny. Love ya sis.