Defenders 13U Team Gets the Message and Wins Two at Tom Dowd Memorial

No one outside the team knows what words of wisdom Coach Stone imparted to the players after the 13U Team (Brown) loss last week, but the crowd began to see a glimpse of what could be at the Tom Dowd Memorial on 05/26/12. It was evident there had been a lot of introspection before the team travelled north to play three games in Woodbury, NY. Having Coach Stone at the helm again today would prove inspiring in more ways than one. This tournament is something personal.

In game one against the Lady Minutemen, we saw a Defenders team that hustled and was stronger on defense. Alex started off with two foul shots and Aahmira scored a foul shot after being fouled on a strong move to the basket. She also forced a three second call and scored on a breakaway layup, then forced a turnover. Shauna rejected a shot, then scored following nice team passing. The team forced the opponent to make turnovers. Brianna scored twice and Imani showed she could play could defense well. Imani also scored after being fouled and Aahmira’s good eye for what was happening, prevented a layup. Aahmira scored a technical foul shot and Brianna scored a three-pointer, a sign of things to come. Gabrielle once again showed how aggressive she can be on defense, forcing the travel and, in a later play, showing her strong defensive stance. Briana showed she could make an impact defensively as well.

Ahmira forced another turnover and made the layup. Gabrielle joined the three-point shot club. Alex changed up to score off the drive inside. Brianna scored foul shots and Imani forced the backcourt call in addition to making two layups. Savannah denied the layup and Shaunna made a nice assist to Aahmira for the score. Brianna and Alex scored three pointers in the second half and Briana, Imani, Aahmira and Gabrielle showed they can play team defense. Final Score: Lady Minutemen 53-41

In game two, the 13U team showed more of their offensive ability. Aahmira started off with two layup scores. Gabrielle made the assist leading to Brianna’s score, scored herself with the jump shot, then made two foul shots after another play. Imani and Savannah forced turnovers, playing aggressively and not letting the opponent move forward easily. Shaunna and Jewel scored off the offensive rebounds and Brianna hit the long jumper. Brianna and Alex scored off offensive rebounds while Savannah, Imani and Gabrielle made steals. Jewel and Imani scored off rebounds. Briana and Jewel showed they could hustle defensively and Alex continued to be successful with the three-pointers. Final Score: Defenders 47-10

By the third game, members of the crowd wondered if it were possible to see a happy or smiling Coach Stone. The girls had played very well against a stronger team, but lost in game one and had won, but not played up to his expectations in game two.

In a very close final game, Brianna and Aahmira were able to score on layups. Jewel scored after a steal under the offensive board. Briana made another steal for the team. Alex made two outside shots and Gabrielle made the assist to Savannah who scored. Gabrielle batted away a shot leading to a score by Imani. There was good pressing by the Defender guards. The team ended the half down by one. In the second half, Gabrielle scored on the jumper and Imani made the assist to Shaunna who scored. Savannah made a few more jumpers, Shaunna showed she is getting stronger at blocking shots. A more aggressive defense by the entire team and baskets by Gabrielle, Alex and Brianna helped the defenders make a comeback, but with less than a minute left, the Defenders again were down. To the surprise of everyone in the gym, Brianna made the three-point shot for the Defender win. And, yes, the crowd did see a smile on the face of Coach Stone. Just don’t tell anyone. Final Score: Defenders 39-38

Lessons learned today: Play your best and play consistently, no matter who you have as an opponent. Switch to defense mode immediately after scoring. Talk to each other more. Make straight, strong passes. Very special thanks and congratulations to Savannah and Briana for everything they did today!

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