Raptors Basketball Club: 2009 National Recap....
***14U NATIONAL TRIP TO FLORIDA A SUCCESS IN MORE WAYS THAN ONE***
With over 3,000 miles traveled in seven days we actually got a chance to play some basketball, some very good basketball at that.
During the week in Florida each of the boys stayed at an exclusive private home in the suburbs of Orlando. Everyone that stayed in the house had a chore to do every night and rules to follow throughout the week but not without complaints of course.
The weather was HOT and the scenery was beautiful but this was no vacation. There was business to be done and a mission to be completed.
GAME #1 SUNDAY 2:30PM RAPTORS VS ANNADALE ROCKETS (MD)
The game started off on the wrong note when we had a uniform rules infraction that allowed AR to shoot 10 consecutive free throws before the clock even started. Of course they were an excellent free throw shooting team and hit 8 of 10.
Being behind the 8 ball isn’t anything that we haven’t dealt with before but they didn’t know that. It was just more fuel to an already burning blaze.
Those few points turned out to be the only points they would get in the first quarter after we came from behind to take the lead and keep it throughout the game.
But AR kept it close with their free throw shooting never letting us get anymore than 8 points ahead. In fact it turned into just a 2 point lead with under a minute to go in the 4th.
However, the stellar guard play and dominate interior presence we showed proved to be too much.
RAPTORS 58 ANNADALE ROCKETS 56
GAME# 2 MONDAY 11:30AM RAPTORS VS SOYSA HOOPSTERS (FL)
They came out quick and fast but they couldn’t hit a shot. So we capitalized on that with some shifty guard play and some big time shots.
We controlled most of the game for the first three quarters but the fourth turned out to be a shocker.
With just under a minute to go SOYSA managed to cut the 12 point lead to just two points. They were threatening to score again when we came up with a huge steal giving us the ball back with about 12 seconds to go. A dribbling miscue forced a turnover handing the ball back to SOYSA with about 4 seconds left on their end of the court.
The ball was to taken out around the right side baseline corner. We are up by two so it would take a prayer to win this one or at the very least overtime. The ball gets thrown cross court to their best player coming off a screen close to half court. He bobbles it then gains control with a defender in his face he heaves it up behind the 3 point line…..nothing but net. Time expires and SOYSA wins by 1.
That was the first three pointer that he had hit all game!
RAPTORS 47 SOYSA HOOPSTERS 48
GAME#3 TUESDAY 5:30PM RAPTORS VS SAN ANTONIO ROADRUNNERS (TX)
This one turned out to be a scrapper. Although San Antonio was small, they definitely were strong, battling all the way to the end of the game.
Our guards just proved to be way too much for them to handle. Excellent ball control and clock management allowed us to win the game and clinch first place in our bracket.
RAPTORS 45 SAN ANTONIO 38
BRACKET PLAY GAME #1 WEDNESDAY 7PM RAPTORS VS SIBO JAGUARS (AR)
Getting the first place bid in our pool allowed us to get a first round bye. After going and scouting the competition the coaching staff realized that we have a strong chance of getting to the third round. We matched up better than the Jaguars and clearly had the better talent.
Sometimes what is on paper doesn’t matter once the ball is in play. From the beginning we looked lethargic and slow. There were turnovers that weren’t seen all year and lay ups blown with no one around. In fact only one person scored the entire first quarter for the Raptors.
We ended up losing by seven but it wasn’t the end. With the National structure we could still get back into championship contention but it would take everything we had.
RAPTORS 37 SIBO JAGUARS 44
GAME # 2 THURSDAY 2:30PM RAPTORS VS NEWBURGH ZION LIONS (NY)
I told you we traveled over 3,000 miles but I forgot to mention that we had to play a team 50 miles away from our home base in upstate New York. But they were on the schedule and they were in the way of our destiny.
Both head coaches were familiar with each other and each others team having played at many of the same local tournaments. So this game was going to come down to which team wanted it more, us or them?
It turned out to be them. We had the height advantage across the board but they seemed to out jump us. We had the foot speed to run with them but they seemed to be sprinting past us. They simply had more fight than us at a time that we should have had more than them.
RAPTORS 55 NEWBURGH ZION LIONS 66
Friday and Saturday turned out to be reflection days on what had transpired during the week before we prepared for the flight back home. Many of the guys were in disgust of their individual play and some were still in shock of having been eliminated from the Nationals.
From a coaching stand point we were perplexed and proud all at the same time. We were proud of each and every one of the young men. We seen our guys play at levels that they didn’t even think they could play at. We showed the world of AAU that the Raptors can play with the best in the country. And, we learned that next time we come down here it won’t be the same result.
A lot was learned down there in Orlando and probably 70% of it had nothing to do with basketball at all.
Congratulations on a job well done fellas. See you in the spring!!!