Once on Thursday night, a girl from the White squad sat on the floor, hands interlocked over her knees, and said to herself, sighing, “Every single time I touch the ball, she fouls me.” One of her teammates, after losing the ball out of bounds, fired a fastball to a referee that would have made Yu Darvish proud. She was angry at no one but herself, and since it was a large, inflated ball, not a small, hard one, for 15 yards or so, the official smiled and let her slide.
“It’s very hard to keep their attention span,” winning boys’ coach David Carter (Red) said. “They’re hardheaded. You have to watch them all the time, but the basic thing is their grasp of the offenses and defenses they’re trying to learn. We ran five different defenses tonight.”
White led 27-22 early in the third quarter but a 19-4 run was the centerpiece of the Red team’s 52-49 victory. Quay Mims led the winning team with 17 points, followed by Danny Kinard and Kaleb Richardson with nine each. Jadden Copeland and Austin Copeland scored 10 and nine, respectively, for White.
The action began at 5 p.m. Thursday under unusual circumstances. The girls’ teams began play with White leading Red, 18-15, and 5:41 showing on the clock. That’s because the previous scheduled game between the cross-school rivals had to be suspended earlier in the season at that point because of an injury requiring medical attention. Red proceeded to outscore White, 9-0, to capture a 24-18 victory.
Then, behind 15 points from Asia Boyd, White won the full game, 29-27. Tennille Evans scored 16 for Red.
The crowd was large. The games were sportsmanlike. Before the girls started, one player took a leave from the layup line to hug her arriving daddy. Not to be outdone, two other girls followed suit.
Darrell Suber, who coached the winning team in the full girls’ game, said, “At the middle schools, you have to work a lot more on fundamental things, and you have to have a lot of patience and take the time to teach them what to do on the court. You have to pay attention to their feelings, and sometimes, when we’re a little too hard on them, we have to go back and quietly tell them we were just trying to make them better.
“Sometimes you’ve just got to put your arms around their shoulders and make sure their feelings aren’t hurt.”