|My favorite photo from last year's season|
This winter was Alli's third season playing basketball. The first two seasons her team lost a lot. And by "a lot" I mean they won ONE game last season. It was so frustrating for the players, the coaches and the parents. When all you do is lose, it is hard with a capital H to keep showing up to practice. Keep working hard. Keep giving 100% effort in the games. It would have been easier to quit, but our girls are athletes. They show up, even when it's rough. Seasons like last year developed our girls' character through suffering and perseverance.
|6th Grade Basketball Team|
When basketball season rolled around this year I readied myself for more of the same, but this year was different. Alli's grade had an influx of new players and coaches worked into the mix of the regulars from the past two seasons.
Middle school girls are prone to drama - on the court and off the court. Managing 14 of them is not for the faint of heart. But Coach Alloway and his coaching staff immediately established clear ground rules. They had high standards and expected the girls to meet the mark.
Practice was not social hour. It was HARD work. If a player didn't follow the instructions, the whole team ran. The girls learned quickly to pay attention and work together.
Coach also had high standards for his players' behavior. "During basketball season we are a family on and off the court. We support each other. We work hard. We encourage each other. We don't put up with social media drama or any kind of negative talk toward each other." And then he enforced it.
I think he deserves a Gold Star for holding these girls accountable to a higher standard of living on and off the court. Alli came to life under his leadership. Coach saw Alli's potential on the basketball court and he didn't let her cut corners or do things halfway. Alli submitted to his leadership and became a student of the game. Her raw, undeveloped talent morphed into smooth ball handling, less turnovers, more steals, more assists, more rebounds, and less fouls. She still missed a ton of shots, but she made a ton of baskets too, including her first three pointer.
|My favorite action shot from this season.|
|Dribbling without turning it over all the time has been a huge improvement this season.|
|Going for the steal|
|She will take on any player, any size. This kid is fearless.|
|Defensive Trap without fouling|
|This year's players and coaches - more of both genres!|
This weekend our girls played their hearts out in the league tournament. They won their first game convincingly, but started slow in their second game and lost by 5 points. Their only chance at the championship game was to win the following day.
We started that game slow too and went down 0-6 in the early minutes of the first quarter. We couldn't buy a bucket. But the girls didn't quit. They believed in themselves and trusted their coaches. They slowly clawed their way back into the game. Tied it, then went up by eight. The momentum shifted back and forth. Both teams were hungry for victory. In the end our girls came out on top 27-22 to earn a spot in the coveted championship game.
Our opponent in the championship game was McMinnville (Mac) - the same team that defeated the girls the day before. It was the perfect matchup against long time arch-rivals. Our girls charged to a 0-10 lead, but Mac refused to roll over and die. They started scoring, shut down our offense, and were right back in the game.
The momentum shifted back and forth the entire game. When Mac would shut down a Newberg player that was on fire, we'd shift our offense to another player. The points, rebounds, steals and assists were spread evenly between all the Newberg players. Both teams played with grit and determination, but our girls pulled off the victory: 32-36!
The future of Newberg basketball is bright. Well done girls. Well done Coaches. We are all so proud of you.
Tigers on three: 1-2-3 TIGERS!