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High school boys basketball

Discussion in 'Writers' Workshop' started by earlyentry, Jan 29, 2008.

  1. earlyentry

    earlyentry Member

    I'm unemployed but freelancing, at the most, three times a week. Any positives/negatives would be appreciated.

    LINDEN – Still young and developing, Linden's David Bruce will occasionally need a wakeup call during a basketball game.

    By substituting Bruce out after missing a couple rebound chances, Tigers coach Phil Colicchio rejuvenated his 6-foot-9 junior like a shot of espresso.

    In front of a sell-out crowd on an MSG broadcast, the Tigers overcame an early nine-point deficit and 18 points apiece from Kevin Jones and Sherrod Wright to win a statement game, 60-53, against two-time defending state champion Mount Vernon.

    "We don't win this basketball game if David doesn't wake up," Colicchio said. "He had some big-time put-backs in the first half. David still doesn't realize how good he is."

    The Houston-bound Desmond Wade wrapped up the win with a steal at midcourt and a layup as time expired. The diminutive senior guard finished with a game-high 21 points and won most valuable player honors from MSG.

    It was one of the first statement games for the defending Group-4 champion Tigers (14-2), who won with their trademark, in-your-face defense.

    "We had some turnovers and steals that we didn't convert into buckets, but I think we put a lot of pressure on them," Colicchio said, who went on to say that playing on TV was a benefit for the team.

    "It gave us a chance to save our legs. Having some extended timeouts really gave us a chance to get our feet underneath us, because we really didn't go that deep tonight. We played about six, seven kids."

    Bruce (12 points), a rising prospect who has offers from St. Joseph's, Rutgers and Seton Hall among others, responded well to some early coaching from Colicchio.

    With a 1:11 before halftime, Bruce returned off the bench with two tip-ins and six points in as Linden held a tenuous advantage at the half, 28-27.

    But Bruce saved his most emphatic play for the final seconds, a two-handed slam pushing the lead to 56-52. He slapped the backboard for effect, and Linden was on its way with a solid victory heading into February.

    "Not too many teams really come in here and defeat us in our home," Bruce said.

    Mount Vernon was up 41-40 when Bruce caught a post pass on the right block and was fouled. He made both free throws – including 6-of-6 after missing his first pair - to give the Tigers a 42-41 lead.

    When a 3-pointer from the right corner by Jerelle Louis (13 points) made it 45-41, Jones quickly responded with a turnaround shot in the post. Linden would then miss its next four shots, including two fastbreak opportunities. Two Wright free throws tied the game at 45-45 with 2:58 left.

    Jones, a McDonald's All-American finalist, did his best all night to keep Mount Vernon in the game. But the West Virginia-bound forward had trouble shooting consistently against the Tigers' defense and missed an open 3-pointer from the left wing with the Knights down 47-45. On the ensuing possession, Wade used a killer crossover to get to the free-throw line and push the lead to four and the Tigers never trailed again.

    "We're a spurt basketball team," Colicchio said. "Our key to the way we play is defensively. When you play good defense, you do get some spurts."

    Linden trailed by nine in the first quarter, by seven in the second, by five in the third and by three in the final period.

    But like the growing Bruce, the Tigers woke up just in time.
  2. verbalkint

    verbalkint Member

    Re: High school boy's basketball

    Just a few thoughts.

    - Ditch "Still young and developing" from the lede. That fits most everyone in high school, and it slows down the intro.

    - Unless the sellout crowd was a record, or the TV broadcast was a rarity, I don't need to know them. (Given where these players are headed to college, I would guess both things are a common occurence.) If you feel like putting them in, do it further down in the story.

    - Leave the two 18-point scorers out of that sentence--muddles the score. "The Tigers overcame an early 9-point deficit to win (are they on a streak?) 60-53 against two-time..." Then give me their top scorers in the next line.

    - The phrase "one of their first statement games" is unclear to me. Are there future statement games? I've always understood the phrase to mean a big win, so how would you know if it's one of the first, or if it's the last? Also, it's a repeat of "statement game," which I'm not sure if I even like appearing in the same sentence as the final score.

    - Don't write "in-your-face defense," show it. How many steals? Blocks? Forced the other team to shoot poorly, held the Jones kid below his average, etc. Also avoid the word "trademark," especially in a high school setting. I'd give the nod to the 50's Celtics over Linden.

    - On a minor note, the only stats you have in the whole story are points. Nobody had more than 8 boards or 5 assists? Also shooting lines would be helpful. A high school team that has two kids score 18 points won't lose often, but if one of them hit 6 out of 25 shots, that's the game.

    - I'd question the play-by-play near the end. You narrate the action up to 49-45, but what I want is how we got to 54-52, leading up to the game changing dunk. What you've got might be too much detail, given its relative importance. Also ditch "killer."

    - The quote after the play-by-play is out of place. They may be a spurt team, but you just used two graphs to show me a 9-4 run, during which the team missed four straight shots. I feel the same way about the first quote about Bruce--good quote, wrong place.

    - I appreciate the symmetry of the second to last graph, but I'd rather you just take me back to the first quarter when they got way down. Also, resist the urge to sum up the story with something clever--makes you sound like a TV news guy. Either lay out the near future for either team or just end flat. Nothing wrong with your last line saying, "Mark Miller's buzzer-beating layup gave Mount Vernon its biggest lead, an 18-9 advantage at the end of the first quarter."

    - Okay, enough of the negative. You did the right thing with this story. You ignored the big star going to WV, and you downplayed the kid who scored the most points. (Assuming he scored most of them in the first half.) The thing with Bruce getting benched and then having this dunk was the story of this game, and it's made even better by including the backboard slap. I wish you had a quote from him about that exact moment, what that felt like after getting benched, but I'll go with the one you've got. The only thing I wish you had was something of the exchange. When did it happen, and what happened? Did Bruce know what he'd done wrong? Also, ask the coach or the player what words, if any, were said between them. They'll usually just tell you.

    Anyway, unemployed and on deadline, this ain't bad.
  3. RFB-Boy

    RFB-Boy Member

    Re: High school boy's basketball

    A few quick nitpicks: It's high school boys basketball or high school boys' basketball. Not boy's basketball. That suggests only one boy is playing.

    Second, the lede would be better with a more active tense. Instead of "will occasionally need," the term "needs" or "occasionally needs" brings the story into the present.

    Otherwise, I agree with verbalkint. More from Bruce would have been nice if that one moment was really that important. Solid work though.
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