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Girls Prep B-Ball Gamer

Discussion in 'Writers' Workshop' started by PTSportsWriter, Jan 15, 2007.

  1. Looking for suggestions.
    This is a good gamer I wrote last week.
    (Just to note....the way we do things here is cover a prep doubleheader in one story...give a lead to the overall story, and then do individual gamers for each game. But I have cut the second game out of the story, since the girls was the overall focus. I know 1,175 words is a lot, but prep sports is the thing around here and upper management wants that to be the focus. Not to mention we have no college of any athletic interest in the main circulation area...so therefore we are told to fill our section with preps and then go elsewhere if need be, and relying on Wire Copy and Pressers.)

    Here's the story..

    Depew leads Lady Red to stunning win over Lady Canes
    DATELINE - Shannon Depew hates to lose.

    The ever-competitive Cocke County High School Lady Red freshman did not allow her team to lose on Friday night in Inter Mountain Athletic Conference action against Morristown East.

    Faced with a 16-point deficit late in the third quarter, Depew put her team on her back and led the Lady Red (10-6, 2-2) to the win. Depew scored 28 points on the night and 20 in the second half to give her team the 48-46 victory over the Lady ‘Canes (8-6, 1-2).

    In the night-cap of the doubleheader the Fighting Cocks (4-11, 0-4) dropped to 0-4 in the conference by dropping a 54-50 decision to the Hurricanes (6-7, 1-3).

    Lady Red comeback stuns Lady Canes

    The Lady Hurricanes had this one all wrapped up and packaged neatly, poised to grab sole possession of third place in the IMAC.

    That nice, neat package was torn into by Cocke County’s Shannon Depew.

    Trailing by 16 with three minutes remaining in the third quarter, the Lady Red had been scoreless since a Depew jumper at the 2:35 mark of the second quarter. The 5-foot-10 Cocke County freshman added the next Cocke County points at the 2:47 mark of the third quarter.

    From then on it was Depew’s game as she carried the Lady Red to the 48-46 win and sole possession of third place in the IMAC.

    Depew scored 18 points from the 2:47 mark until the final buzzer as she dominated the final 10 minutes of the game. Depew could not miss a shot down the stretch and if the Lady Canes had her guarded she cleaned the offensive glass effectively.

    Depew accounted for all but nine of her team’s second half points. The freshman made her mark with a 50-percent shooting night from the field and connecting on 16-of-18 free-throws.

    But don’t tell Depew she was the sole reason for the win. Despite her early successes of leading her team and conference at the prep level, the freshman remains humble. “We just played as a team tonight,” Depew said following the win. “We believed in each other and never gave up.”

    “Shannon’s a special young lady,” Cocke County Lady Red head coach Patrick O’Neil said. “She’s an excellent kid and if she keeps working hard she’s going to be a great basketball player.”

    After trailing since 1:27 remained in the first quarter, Depew evened the game with a pair of free-throws with 45.8 seconds remaining.

    Still though, the comeback needed to be completed.
  2. Following turnovers by each team, Cocke County took possession with 10 seconds remaining at mid-court. With everyone in the gymnasium trying to find the 5-foot-10 freshman wearing number 35, the Lady Hurricanes forgot about Cocke County’s other young gun, Morgan Buda.

    Buda, plagued by drawing two early fouls, finished with 11 points on the night. And none were bigger than the final two.

    With 10 seconds remaining the inbound went to Buda and with a sea of orange surrounding Depew, the lane opened up allowing Buda the room to drive in as she kissed her scoop shot off the glass and in for the Lady Red lead with four seconds remaining.

    “I was supposed to get the screen and I was supposed to go the backdoor and get the lay up but they were just kind of all over me,” Depew said of the next to last play. “So whoever the ball got to was supposed to get to the hole and Buda did that. Buda’s a player,” Depew said.

    “Well since Shannon was shooting really good, they had her covered,” Buda said of the set-up of the winning play. “I knew there was an open shot and I knew everyone had the confidence in me because we’re a team. And we knew whatever was going to happen we were going to be proud of ourselves and I just saw the lane open up.”

    After a Lady Canes timeout to set up a final shot, Demika Holt’s three-point shot drew iron but fell harmlessly to the court setting off a celebration.

    “It was a special ending for us,” O’Neil said. “It was pretty nice and went our way for a change. The girls fought really hard and I’m glad they could win and show what hard work pays off.”

    It took a little extra hard work for the Lady Red after digging a deep hole early on. The 7:48 scoreless stretch literally had Morristown East off and running to the victory without much of a tussle from the home team.

    Shot after shot refused to fall for Cocke County as key cogs Nikki Bryant, Courtney Lewis, Jerrica Lane and Alex Suggs all but vanished from point production on the night.

    “I looked at [assistant] coach [David] Whaley and said nothing’s falling and he looked at me and said the same,” O’Neil said. “We just knew offensively we were struggling big time and we needed to do something defensively.

    ”The girls just started believing in one another in the second half and instead of having their heads down they started picking their heads up and doing something about it and it made a difference for us,” O’Neil said.

    What made the difference was the one odd thing of the evening for Cocke County. Entering the game the Lady Red’s free-throw shooting was considered their Achilles Heel.

    “We were shooting sixty-something percent from the line and we’re not typically real good free-throw shooting team,” O’Neil said. “Tonight the girls just concentrated, put them in the hole and made a difference in the game.”

    Depew’s performance of hitting 16 of her free-throws enabled the Lady Red to shoot 22-for-28 at the line and allowed the Lady Red to claw their way back into the game. Free-throws accounted for 16 of their 29 second half points.

    Yet it may have been a pair of technical free-throws that changed the complexion of the entire contest. Trailing 35-23 with 2:15 to play in the third period, the Lady Canes ripped a steal and had an uncontested easy lay-up awaiting them at the other end. However just before the lay-in occurred, the whistle blew and Morristown East’s Ashton Swaggerty had been whistled for a technical foul for a swift kick to the mid-section of Depew.

    The resulting four-point swing allowed the Lady Red to close the gap at the end of three to 38-32.

    Cocke County played an even first half with Morristown East, fending off a tenacious Lady ‘Canes full-court press before Jessie Owen took over in the final minutes.

    Morristown East focused on denying Buda the basketball and making the Lady Red go to other options offensively. “What it [the press] did was force us into some things we weren’t comfortable in doing, and it made us take some shots that were ill-advised and led to the poor shooting in the second quarter,” O’Neil said.

    Owen’s shooting ability broke the game open at the close of the first half. Owen drained consecutive three-point baskets in the final minute of the half to increase the lead to nine at the half.
  3. Appgrad05

    Appgrad05 Active Member

    Way too much play-by-play. It's the regular season and it's girls' basketball.
  4. dawgpounddiehard

    dawgpounddiehard Active Member

    “Shannon’s a special young lady,” Cocke County Lady Red head coach Patrick O’Neil said. “She’s an excellent kid and if she keeps working hard she’s going to be a great basketball player.”

    OK, I don't know how much time you had to interview the coach, but this quote should have triggered something. Appgrad was right, TOO MUCH, play-by-play. But once you heard the coach say "if she keeps working hard she's going to be a great basketball" a *ding* should have went off in your head.

    First off, this is a meaningless coach-speak quote. You have to ask yourself and the coach... why? Take this and run with it, then back up why she's going to be a great player by these games she had. Less play-by-play results.

    Also, the lede... well, no shit, she doesn't like to lose. It's cliche.
  5. Thanks for the suggestions.

    A lot of pbp - but as I said....we write to fill 1/2 of the front and 1/2 of a jump page at our shop for Friday prep basketball.

    Yes it is girls basketball and yes its a lot, but the guys team sucks and the gym empties after the girls game. I've suggested to the AD to play the girls game last to draw a bigger gate.

    As for the coach quote.....Toughest. Interview. Ever.

    I probably could've done the "hates to lose" lede better, but....she and the other freshman never lost a game at the elementary level and have won 3-4 straight State AAU crowns at their level and these two girls broke down and cried profusely after they lost a pre-season scrimmage back in early november. I should've done a better job conveying it.
  6. DyePack

    DyePack New Member

    It needs more commas.
  7. Angola!

    Angola! Guest

    If I've read correctly, your home team was the 'Canes. Which means your girls team won. Which means to me you have probably already mentioned somewhere this season that "her" team hasn't lost since elementary level. If that is true, that you have mentioned it, then it is somewhat of a tired lede as it is and you should try to find a featury lede about the game itself.
    Also, if I were you - and not trying to be overly critical - I would suggest to your boss that you would rather write gamers no longer than 750 words and concentrate on doing features or enterprise stories. Then you won't have to worry about doing a play-by-play on the entire game.
    Hope that helps.
  8. Orange Hat Bobcat

    Orange Hat Bobcat Active Member

    Also, if your aim each Friday night is to fill half of the front and half of a jump page, why not break up the story a little bit? No, I don't mean more subheads.

    Write 350 or 400 words on the better game, then write 250 or 300 on the other game.

    Then make a box. Put little snippets in it. Y'know, stuff from ESPN.com game story pages -- The turning point in a sentence, the team's record, top players, stuff like that. Those boxes will bring in the reader. Who knows, they might even read more of your story.

    Also, run the box score at the end. That's a couple hundred words right there and it's an easy way to get everybody's name in the paper. That way, you can featurize your game story a little more and maybe Little Katie's mom won't be so pissed that you didn't write about her precious angle.

    Just some thoughts.
  9. Thanks for the suggestions.

    I run a text box in the story, but not a full box.

    All of these are great ideas - but I have no control. I'm just the part-time/stringer and the sports editor wont budge (we're a small daily). I can get a full box for a prep game & shoot photos and do it all, but he cant for whatever reason - and that leaves me in a bind.

    I feel like I need to put a lot of the box nuts and bolts in the story, because the readers arent being served if that info isnt available.

    Its a catch-22. I could write a lot more creatively and dump the pbp and the box nuts and bolts, but the reader needs to know it somehow.
  10. NoOneLikesUs

    NoOneLikesUs Active Member

    God, do I hate lady-this and lad-that. Just refer to the team's nickname. Leave the lady stuff in the '80s.
  11. the team I cover, their nickname is the "Lady Red"..

    Why....well the school nickname is the "Fighting Cocks". Something just isnt right with "Lady Fighting Cocks"
  12. outofplace

    outofplace Well-Known Member

    Someday I want to see a story about the athlete who thoroughly enjoys losing.

    More realistically, how about the one who doesn't give a damn if they lose. We know there are athletes like that.

    "Johnny Jockstrap couldn't care less if his Podunk Pirates lose every game, as long as he gets to take as many shots as he likes and keeps his scoring average at 30 points per game."
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