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Another basketball gamer

Discussion in 'Writers' Workshop' started by CCaple, Mar 1, 2009.

  1. CCaple

    CCaple Member

    Need some feedback on whether this is clip-file worthy or not. Anyone with just a minute to glance over it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

    Matthew Bryan-Amaning hugged his head coach as the final seconds ran off the clock. So did Jon Brockman. Quincy Pondexter did the same.

    After wading through a sluggish first half plagued by missed free throws and poor offensive execution, after falling behind by 10 points midway through the second half, they had found a way to win once more. And because they did, a banner will be raised in Hec Edmundson Pavilion at the end of the season.

    Whether it commemorates a Washington Pac-10 championship or a co-championship is yet to be determined.

    But the 21st-ranked Huskies assured that it will be at least the latter Saturday, using another gut-it-out, scratch-and-claw comeback to hold off Arizona 83-78 at Hec Ed to clinch at least a share of the Pac-10 title for the first time since 1985.

    The celebration was brief.

    “We’re not done yet,” said Brockman, who tied team-high scoring honors with Isaiah Thomas, scoring 19 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. “We’re going to be a little greedier than that.”

    A home game against Washington State next Saturday is the last hurdle the Huskies must clear to take home their first outright conference championship since 1953.

    “There’s not going to be any celebration until we get those rings,” Venoy Overton said.

    And again, it was their perseverance amid a not-so-sterling performance that won this game. Arizona led 36-32 after a first half that saw Washington shoot just 36.4 percent from the field and just 4-11 from the free throw line.

    That’s when UW head coach Lorenzo Romar gathered Brockman, Pondexter and Justin Dentmon, his captains, to reiterate the stakes once more.

    “He pulled all our jerseys, and said ‘I believe in you guys, I know you guys can do this,’” Brockman said. “We got in a little huddle after he said that and said we’ve come way too far to let it slip out of our hands like this. That kind of changed things around.”

    Said Romar: “I just told them basically, we’re counting on you. Find whatever you need to do. We’ve got to get this done.”

    It took a while to kick in. They still trailed 56-46 with a little more than 12 minutes to go, and Arizona couldn’t seem to miss.

    Moans and groans permeated from the sold-out Hec Ed crowd. Visions of the Wildcats’ 69-point second half in Tucson earlier this season came to memory.

    Washington (22-7, 13-4 Pac-10) had made just five of its 15 free throw attempts. They had no answer for Jordan Hill, who left after rolling his ankle but returned to finish with 27 points, and Chase Budinger had just kissed a jumper off the glass to give the ‘Cats their biggest lead.

    Then the Huskies went into get-it-done mode for the third straight game. Bryan-Amaning responded with a bucket, then Elston Turner answered a jumper by Jamelle Horne with a 3-pointer and Brockman completed an and-one to cut the UA lead to 58-54.

    Brockman scored again in between buckets by Budinger and Brendon Lavender. That’s when Washington grabbed control of the game—and again, the conference lead—and held on with the same fervor that got them here.

    A two-handed flush by Bryan-Amaning began a 10-0 Husky run, and even when Nic Wise and Budinger downed back-to-back 3-pointers, Thomas responded by putting his head down, taking the ball to the tin and scoring five straight points by himself to give UW the lead for good.

    Brockman hit all four of his free throw attempts in the final 2:38, and Dentmon coaxed in a floater with 40.1 seconds left to give the Dawgs a 77-72 lead that would be too much for Arizona to make up.

    Budinger finished with 20 for Arizona, joining Hill and Wise, who added 11, as the only UA players in double figures. Pondexter added 12 and Dentmon 10 for Washington.

    Brockman was 7-9 from the free throw line, standing out on a day when the Huskies were just 19-35 as a team.

    “Nothing was bigger than [Brockman’s] free throws down the stretch in this game,” Romar said. “He is such a warrior. I don’t care if he’s a one percent free throw shooter right now, he’s not going to miss.”

    He rarely did down the stretch, scoring nine of his team’s final 24 points to assure the Huskies their best conference finish in at least 24 years.

    “I’m unbelievably proud of these guys and the way we’ve been able to come together as a group,” Brockman said. “Not worry about stats, not worry about any of the outside influences, just come together and make winning plays for the team. It’s way more special that way. I couldn’t ask for anything else.”

    Except for maybe one more win.
  2. jlee

    jlee Well-Known Member

    I'd put it in you clip file. I enjoyed it.

    One thing the story left me wondering, though. Do the Huskies just need a win at Wazzou? Or do they need someone else to lose, too? But that's a small tiff in an otherwise solid piece.

    Very little things: Watch out for using two when you just need one. I.e. "gut-it-out, scratch-and-claw"; "And again."
  3. Solid!

    The only thing I didn't like was "After wading through a sluggish first half plagued by missed free throws and poor offensive execution..."

    I don't know if a team wades through halves. Make it "struggling through" or something and you're fine.

    One thing I especially liked: the "it took a while to kick in." You subtly challenged the narrative they seemed to be feeding you - that the magical coach's inspiring words propelled them to new heights. Some people would've made that the lede. Nice work.
  4. Oh, one more thing. "Moans and groans permeated from the sold-out Hec Ed crowd." "Permeated" is the wrong word there. "Emanated," maybe.
  5. awriter

    awriter Active Member

    A few minor issues aside, this is a solid gamer.
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