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High School basketball gamer

Discussion in 'Writers' Workshop' started by mrblonde1984, Mar 13, 2011.

  1. mrblonde1984

    mrblonde1984 New Member

    Hey everyone. I'm looking for a little feedback on this game story I wrote for my weekly paper. Any advice, tips, criticisms would be appreciated. Please note, this story is for a weekly paper and won't be published until later next week. That's the reason why I don't go into detail about a "time date place preview" of the next opponent.

    ENFIELD – Junior Hugh Lindo converted a game-winning three-point play with 17 seconds remaining, and Enfield held on for a 52-50 victory against Ansonia in the quarterfinals of the Class M boys basketball state tournament Friday night at Enfield High School.

    With the victory, the fourth-seeded Raiders (23-3) punched their ticket to a semifinal matchup with top-ranked Career Magnet (22-1). Ansonia, the No. 21 seed, ended its season at 14-9.

    Senior Reggie Finney’s jumper from the top of the key gave Ansonia a 50-49 lead with 41 seconds left in the game, but on Enfield’s next possession Lindo took a pass from the top of the key, spun to his right away from defender Montrell Dobbs and sank a runner as he was fouled by Tarell Vargas.

    Despite being iced by Ansonia coach Todd Manuel, who called timeout before Lindo’s free throw attempt, the 6-2 forward buried the free throw to give his team the 52-50 advantage.
    “Scariest moments of my life – definitely,” Lindo said. “Coach just told me in the huddle to put it down, but it was pretty scary.”

    Enfield head coach Cory O’Connell said Lindo’s free throw conversion under pressure was more impressive than making the basket while being fouled.

    “Hugh’s been getting better and better, and more confident,” O’Connell said. “You can’t say enough about him. All year, he’s been clutch from the foul line, and tonight was no different.”

    Ansonia nearly tied the game on the following possession, but Dobbs missed an open putback off a Finney heave from beyond the arc as time expired, and the crowd stormed the court as Enfield celebrated.
    Finney’s desperation shot came off an inbound pass with 4.5 seconds remaining, following three consecutive intentional fouls by the Raiders, who had only committed two fouls and wanted to burn seconds off the clock.

    “We only had two fouls so we had a few to give,” O’Connell said. “I’d rather them get off a shot in three seconds than run the clock down on us and make it. If they’re going to get a shot off in three seconds, so be it.
    “That last shot seemed like it took about 40 seconds in super-slow motion,” O’Connell said. “I keep telling the guys to be good to the basketball gods, and they’ll be good to you. If you work hard and play hard, they’ll be good to you. Tonight, it paid off.”

    Enfield led 28-26 after the first half, and both teams went into the fourth quarter knotted at 39.

    Sophomore guard Paul Lima gave Enfield a 49-46 lead at the 1:55 mark in the fourth quarter by knocking down one of his four 3-pointers, but consecutive Ansonia baskets by Vargas and Finney put the Chargers up 50-49.
    That set things up for Lindo’s game-winner, something teammate Tre Preston said was a result of the junior staying confident in the clutch.

    “We’ve been saying all we’ve got to do is stay confident, and we’ll win,” said Preston, a junior guard who had a game-high 21 points. “If we play together and play with confidence, we don’t have to worry about anything, and that’s what Hugh did on that play. He went up strong and got that basket, and that’s what won us the game.”

    Lindo had 11 points while Lima finished with 18. Ansonia’s leading scorers were Vargas (15 points), Keshant Graham (14 points) and Finney (11 points).
  2. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    Not bad at all, but it does need some tweaking.
    By the time people read this, the story will be nearly a week old. You can't write the same for a weekly as you do for a next-day edition. You've got to featurize it a bit.
    In this case, you've got great material to work with -- a dramatic finish and situation, and a star who seems like a decent quote. Rework the first part of the story to focus on that, even going back to talk to Hugh Lindo again if you can. Without getting too schmaltzy, try to put the reader in his shoes. How nervous was he? What was he thinking before the winning free throw?
    One other nitpicky thing: You don't need to mention what class the players are in every time. It gets clunky, especially in the lede. It reads like Junior is Lindo's first name, instead of Hugh.

    Other than that, I really like this. You didn't overwrite it and you did get to the point. You recognized what was important (the fourth quarter) and zeroed in on it. Too many young writers (and my apologies if you aren't one) start with meaningless play-by-play from the first quarter.
    On the whole, it reads well. Nice and tight with good, relevant quotes (which shows you asked good questions). A good, solid gamer. Rework the lede and you could have yourself a piece for the clip file.
  3. MartinonMTV2

    MartinonMTV2 New Member

    I dunno. I thought it was pretty solid.

    The description about the intentional fouls could be improved. It almost sounds as if you say one thing, and the coach says another.
  4. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    Martin mentioned the description of the intentional fouls, which is something that needs to be fixed. You say they committed "three consecutive intentional fouls," which is somewhat misleading. An intentional foul is a specific type of foul that results in two shots and the ball. You should say something like "after the Raiders committed three fouls on purpose. O'Connell said the fouls were meant to burn clock and force Ansonia to take a tougher shot."
    Then lead into the quote. I get what you meant as it was written, but it is sort of wrong factually. Another nitpicky thing, really.
  5. MartinonMTV2

    MartinonMTV2 New Member

    Brain lock on my part -- yeah, you said this hadn't run yet.

    Eliminate the maybe. You definitely should fix the part about the fouls.
  6. mrblonde1984

    mrblonde1984 New Member

    Thank you for the feedback, guys. I really, really appreciate it. Describing the foul situation was one of the parts of the story I struggled with, so I'm not surprised it came off as awkward. I will definitely rework that part of the story.

    I started off as a daily sports writer a few years ago, so doing the weekly thing is a bit tricky when factoring in the time lapse of when things get published.

    Again, thanks for the feedback. All of it is very helpful.
  7. rmanfredi

    rmanfredi Active Member

    Since this is for a weekly, you might want to work in some sort of a "look ahead" to the semifinal game (assuming it happens after this week's issue comes out). I would definitely add what day the game is being played (and location) at least.

    One other small point: from when you set up Tre Preston's quote through the quote itself, some version of "confident" is used three times. (You also have a "confident" in the coach's quote earlier.) You might want to at least take it out of the pre-quote and come up with another word.
  8. mrblonde1984

    mrblonde1984 New Member

    Thanks, I didn't notice that until you pointed it out. Also, the semifinal game is being played tomorrow night, and we publish on Thursdays. So, I will have coverage of that game as well as this game in the same paper. That's where it gets tricky trying to write a story...
  9. Blake1288

    Blake1288 New Member

    Good job on this, Man.
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