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Discussion in 'Writers' Workshop' started by pHalfacre, Jan 7, 2015.

  1. pHalfacre

    pHalfacre New Member

    Hello! I'm brand new to this forum and I was just hoping that some people could look over this last game story I wrote and let me know what you all think.

    KIRKSVILLE - Conference contests are nearly always gut-wrenching affairs. Add in two overtime periods and that feeling becomes even more pronounced.
    On Wednesday morning, the Kirksville boys team will still have that gut-wrenching feeling and think “what if” after the Tigers fell to Marshall, 72-65, in double-overtime Tuesday night.
    “I’m proud of my guys,” Kirksville coach Tyler Martin said. “Win or lose, that’s something we’ve kind of talked about, giving that kind of effort. We’re going to be in every ballgame and give ourselves chances to win and we did that tonight. We’ve been doing that all year even though tonight is going to be really bittersweet.”
    Kirksville (6-7, 1-4 NCMC) had one of its worst quarters of the season in the second quarter against Marshall. They shot a dreadful 14 percent from the field, missing all four three-point attempts and turned the ball over four times. All that added up to just two points in the quarter.
    “That second quarter killed us. If you’re looking at one thing, it didn’t help, at least,” Martin said.
    But coming out of halftime, the Tigers came out like a new team on offense. They attacked the teeth of Marshall’s defense, going past their guards and attacked the bigs, tempting them to foul them or let them get a layup. That attack mentality threw off Marshall’s own offense as they couldn’t match the Tigers’ intensity.
    Kirksville kept its pedal to the metal and crashed the offensive glass hard with seven offensive boards, getting numerous second-chance opportunities in the second half and gave itself a chance to win when the game was winding down.
    “We were on our home court, so we wanted to come out and fight as hard as we could,” Kirksville’s Landon Motley said. “I was really pleased with how we battled back and played as team, we just didn’t come out on top.”
    Dallin Vorkink would go only 1-for-4 from behind the three point arc but that one was the big one. With 30 seconds left in the game, Marshall missed a free throw that would make it a four-point lead and left the door open for the Tigers. After a timeout, a play that looked like it was set up for Chance Edwards got snuffed out by Marshall’s defense. But when Edwards was double teamed, it left Vorkink wide open for a game-tying three.
    Vorkink buried it and then Tyler Howerton guaranteed overtime when he blocked a point-blank shot on the other end of the court at the end of regulation.
    Despite getting to overtime, the tired legs of having to play with such intensity started to catch up with the Tigers.
    “When people play in a conference game, it wears on them,” Martin said. “It’s a battle no matter who you play. It’s going to be physical and kind of gut wrenching. I think the tired legs came into play more in them attacking us and driving on us.”
    Playing on nothing more than fumes, the Kirksville guards just couldn’t keep Marshall’s out of the lane. They would battle Marshall to a draw in the first overtime period before finally succumbing in the second overtime period.
    Marshall knows that it was fortunate to escape after shooting 53 percent from the charity stripe.
    “Tyler always has their kids ready to play basketball and I know it’s going to be a dogfight when we play Kirksville, so hats off to those guys,” Marshall coach Jason Varner said. “They played hard tonight. It was two good teams going at each other and luckily we got the win tonight.”
    Kirksville was led in scoring by Vorkink’s double-double performance of 13 points and 10 rebounds. Michael Chrisman scored 11 points while dishing out four assists. Motley and Edwards both added 10 points for the Tigers.
    Kirksville will now look to regroup as they step out of conference play with a matchup on the road against Clark County on Monday.
    "We're just going to try and put this game behind us. We realize this was a game we could have won, but we'll just come back and get them next time. We'll get back to work in practice," Motley said.

    Any advice or help would be greatly appreciated.
  2. franticscribe

    franticscribe Well-Known Member

    Let me say that it takes a lot to put your work out there and ask for criticism. I commend you for it. Please take my comments constructively and not as an insult.

    Two pet peeves of mine: First, there's a good bit of tired, hackneyed phrases (gut wrenching, charity stripe, pedal to the medal, tired legs, etc.) I would encourage you to excise those from your stories. Keep it simple. Don't try to write as if your script is going to be read on SportsCenter, or as if you are calling the game on the radio. Second, there's a good bit of word and phrase repetition. For example, starting in your fourth graph you use the word "quarter" four times in four sentences. That's distracting to me as a reader. I try to avoid repeating non-essential words in the same paragraph.
  3. pHalfacre

    pHalfacre New Member

    Thank you! I'm always looking for ways to improve my writing and become a better all around sports journalist. I'll continue to post some more stories as I feel more comfortable with the community but so far I'm getting a good vibe.
    Thank you again!
  4. ringer

    ringer Member

    Not bad, I think your lead could be a lot clearer. Remember, it would also help to say what sport you're writing about at the top. (It may seem obvious based on the score, but unless it's a professional team, don't assume that.) This structure -- below -- might be easier on the reader, especially someone who doesn't follow that team religiously. Hope this helps...

    KIRKSVILLE - On Wednesday morning, the Kirksville boys basketball team will still have that gut-wrenching feeling and think “what if” after a double-overtime loss to Marshall, 72-65, in a [insert name of conference] conference playoff Tuesday night.

    “That second quarter killed us,” Kirksville coach Tyler Martin said.

    It was one of Kirksville's (6-7, 1-4 NCMC) worst quarters all season. It shot only 14 percent from the field, missed all four of its three-point attempts, and turned the ball over four times. It scored just two points in the entire quarter.

    I think you have it. You just need to tweak the order so the most newsworthy info is on top, be a bit more selective when it comes to quotes, and franticscribe is right - scrap all cliches. (i.e. running on fumes, left the door open...and charity stripe?? What's that? A place where you can scan your credit card and leave a donation? :)
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