We had our first game of the New Year against Riva yesterday. The best way to describe the game would be to say that it was just a really good match. I would like to think that the New Year brought a whole new level of play, and in a way it kind of did, but we still fell a tad short of a victory.
Per usual, I can’t remember exactly what happened during the game, but I do know that I picked up my third foul in the first quarter and spent the second quarter watching the game and cheering on my teammates. We went into the locker room at halftime down 19. In the second half our overall team play seemed fluid; guards hit shots, forwards made moves, I made layups; but more importantly our defense rallied and held the other team to only 12 points in the third quarter, scoring 22 ourselves. With about 5 minutes to go in the fourth quarter we pulled the game to within 2 points.
When your team is down by 19 points you really don’t think about winning, it seems too far out of reach. Instead, I like to focus on each and every play and possession. I think about what has been working, what hasn’t, keeping my hands up, focusing on boxing out, crashing the boards, getting touches etc. Once the game becomes a 6-point game, a 4-point game, and then a 2-point game you start to realize that the game is within reach, you can even start to taste what a win might feel like. And sometimes when you hope a little too much and get a little too excited, you lapse for a split second, which I did when my girl had the ball out on the wing, I had 4 fouls, and heard my coach scream “PRESSURE!” With 1:40 left in the game I picked up my 5th foul and took my respective seat on the bench. We ended up losing by 7, to the #4 team in the league.
I was really impressed by our defensive effort. Although sometimes this season has seemed like an uphill battle, as we only one foreign player (most teams have at least 2), I will say that I think my team has the best Swiss players. My Swiss teammates handle the ball, knock down shots, drive to the basket, and pressure the ball on defense. We are learning how to run an effective press, anticipate passes, and play off of one another. We definitely don’t roll over for anyone.
On another note, since I’ve been back I’ve been super jet lagged and super sleepy. I dealt with a 2-day sickness, which I knew I was going to get once everyone started sneezing on and around me at the airport and on the plane. I spent 33 of 46 hours last week sleeping, and had to convince myself to get up today around 1pm with the argument that I am human (as opposed to a vampire – I’m currently reading Dracula), and need to spend some of my hours awake. I’ll admit, the NFL playoffs are not helping me as I try to get on Swiss time. Last night I napped for two hours before waking up to watch that amazing Jets-Colts game which finished around 5am, Swiss time. Of course now I realize that there’s less than a month of football left, and I’ll have to find something else to occupy my Sunday’s. I’m open for suggestions :).