Month: July 2018

United World Games in Klagenfurt am Wörthersee(AT) Part 3 of 3.

-And what happened?

– Life.

/My Blueberry Nights

Day 2

Beep-beep-beep. Should I smash it? Nah. Five more. Beep-beep. A’ight, let’s roll. Naked feet hit the ground. Morning to myself, everyone else is sleeping. Except some people outside. There is always someone awake before me in Klagenfurt. Norm. Take a sip of water. Two, three sips. Rule of the morning – get’s your system going. Time for shower and waking up the girls. Have never met no one at the showers, but some guys are walking from them. At least it looks like it.

Most of the youth is already up at the time I get back to the tents. Good. Not so much fuss. After some time we are ready to get some breakfast. Same as yesterday, but with some hot beverage it goes down. We are overall disappointed at the fact that it is only possible to get one “portion” (2-3 small pieces) of pancakes per person. They could just keep their bread rolls and make some more pancakes instead. Oh well.

Go down, get ready, take the bus. Boom – St. Ruprecht 1. We meet the freedom early at nine-thirty in the morning.

Game 3: HellGirls versus “Stuttgart Eagles” (USA)

This is the game that decides if Hellgirls go out of the group for quarters or will play for fifth place. We meet a team of eight people. Aggressive as are all USA teams I have seen here at Klagenfurt. Game will be tough and rough. Await no mercy. They come in clanging and banging from second one.

First Quarter

As awaited – pit bull game. On our every advance we get hands on us.  The problem is – refs don’t show particular interest in this kind of game. This indicates that this will be one of the “let them fight” games. Fair enough, our defense is clean enough, I am hoping to get them “fouled out” as they only have eight players. Get some out, others can’t be as aggressive anymore. I bring this idea to the team – keep going, go through hands and hope that refs will whistle at least half of them. Well, this could’ve worked only if this game format wasn’t in favor for foul game… Eight minutes running time with full five fouls per person. Most we got out of this was one with four and another one with three, then couple two’s and one’s. One have to experience something like this to be able to counter it. Sadly, my coaching career had been too short.

For first half it worked in our favor that not only we could not score (or even go through), but also our opponents didn’t do nothing. We managed to score one layup so achieving two points, Eagles dropped a three pointer on us so finishing first quarter with three points. HellGirls could’ve accumulated more points, but missed all four free-throws. As I wrote already – free throws turned out a massive weakness.

2 to 3 after the first for Eagles.

Second Quarter

Aggression continued also in second quarter, but HellGirls found some ways to get through and score some baskets. Sadly continued to miss free throws (three out of four missed for second quarter) and we couldn’t burn the difference as Eagles accumulated one basket more in second quarter. Luckily they weren’t shooting any good from the free-throw line today also and missed six out of six free-throws, that gave them just minimal advantage over us and we went in the half time with -2, 7 to 9 for Eagles.

Thirds Quarter

They wanted it and they wanted it bad. We wanted it, but our offensive “freestyle” abilities didn’t allow us to advance. This quarter went down with 0 to 6 for Eagles as the birds locked down the HellGirls. On top of that we got two of our players injured and unable to continue the game. That happened when we started to get hang of the game.

First went down our number 63 with nasty slip. She sat down on her left leg, but right one stayed stretched to outside, out of the game situation one of the opponents were also falling and landed on the knee. In the moment that happened hot wave went throughout my body. First thought, please no tears in the knee. Thanks to all basketball gods – it was alright, just a hit with a knee in the ground. No tears, nothing.

Second was a bad landing and semi-turned ankle for our number 72, classic. Though as I feared – I won’t be able to use her for the next game also as ankle was worse. Once you stretch it – you’re done for that day for sure till it heals up again.

Anyway, these injuries hit us pretty bad and we went behind with 7 to 15 for Eagles.

Fourth Quarter

That was pretty much it. As we could not foul out the opponents and use our advantage of more players in this game mode, everything added up. We were able to get four to four in this quarter, but not to get back those lost eight points. This game was something to remember in case meeting something like this in future. This game also showed our inability to attack aggressive defense properly. Girls have to get better dribbling and passing skills to be able more easily and with less stress to advance over the field. Make less mistakes in passing. Smarter positioning to open up defense for better penetration possibilities. Aaaand free-throws. As they say it – if you can’t win the game, you can learn from it. We went down with 11 to 19 with Stuttgart Eagles flying high to quarter finals. Still, this game showed many things that we must add to our arsenal to be able to compete next time or with other teams like this.

HellGirls now had to get ready for the game at 16:30 against Bad Aibling Fireballs. So we got some time to waste and went back to quarters to go watch some basketball/volleyball at Players Town and Pädag gyms, then get some food after for lunch and rest a bit before the upcoming game. We wouldn’t finish last, but we wanted to take the fifth place instead of sixth and we should be able to do it!

I will skip over this time as I could not describe what was happening at the games anyway. It was just spectacular. We once again loaded gyms with our kids and got really amazing atmosphere there. This is like taking pictures of the nature – like mountains. You can never capture that beauty and magnificence in a picture. Same way I won’t be able to describe this happening and feelings in them. More over – everyone has their own. Let’s just continue.

Game 4: HellGirls versus “Bad Aibling Fireballs” (DE)

This was a special game. One that, if not all, then most of the people would remember long after it was played. Game that reminds one team of hard earned victory and the other one of unforgivable rules and chance that slipped out of the finger tips despite giving your last efforts. Game that makes teams stronger. Game of basketball and as always – there is one winner and one loser.

First quarter

Despite the positive attitude we had by going in against Fireballs, my expectations lowered once I met and spoke with the coach before the game. He had it. He was in the craft for some time and he had to be respected to had done his homework and preparations. Instead of me. Even Latvian Men’s team is known for their adventurous playing style. That’s also something that had developed by HellGirls as mentioned before. “We just get offense.” Then there comes a time where you meet a prepared and disciplined team like this.

Fireballs started strong by strong penetration and receiving two shots two times in first two minutes. As used in women basketball, scores are usually pretty low in average game, so every point matters. They made three out of four shots and added an layup on top of it till minute three leading by five to nil. Our number 15 received some chance for free-throws, but missed both. They put up another bucket, HellGirls answered with their first two points. Basket for Fireballs, missed free-throws from HellGirls. Some back and forth.

HellGirls had some hard time getting over the field through full-court press. Despite all my trys to get them understand basics in countering it, it didn’t happen till the middle of third quarter. I sensed some lack in basketball jargon. Another thing to be worked on in pre-season. For now we had to suck up and learn, but learning means – getting shot at. HellGirls came off the field after the first with eight point deficit. 4 to 12 for Fireballs.

Second quarter

If we wanted to stay in the game we had to score and avoid easy points. If the girls from Bad Aibling wanted to score, we had to make their job difficult. Bad shots, push them out, slow their progression. At some extent it started to show in second quarter. Unfortunately for us, we got some fouls and opponents were good at shooting ball from free-throw line. There was a progress though, we managed to play six to six and start to get hang of countering their full-court press. 10 to 18 for Fireballs at half-time.

Third quarter

This is where the tables changed. Fighting spirit came back with full power and girls showed why we had to shorten the name from Hellenen to Hell. Giving up was no option. Work in defense was better than previous half and offense didn’t struggle anymore. They had grasped some of the countering technique against full-court man-to-man press and could advance down the field more easily. That meant also more buckets in the offense and with buckets comes confidence. Needless to say – this game I went for victory. That meant sitting the ones that did the job poorly or made mistakes. In normal season games you would never find something like this from my side, but I had the chance to get some things done here and see the reactions.

So, I went full competitive sport mode. This is also what we would see in the first teams of the club in the future. Oooh, here we had to work to do also. With winning a league previously, assuming – not even trying hard, came a price. No bench presence and no understanding of what it means. If you don’t play on the field, if you make mistakes, if your skill level today is not enough – you play from the bench. That’s competitive sport. You get your teammates going, you help them in defense, call to turn around, help to pass. When there is a break or timeout – you let them sit, get them water, towel – so they can focus on coaching. You high-five them coming down the field and encourage when going on. Yes, you are not on the field, but you are still here and you are in the team. Today isn’t your day, but it will never be if you don’t get that bench presence going. Now, this was a bit off, but had to be explained. Let’s see how many read these lines.

Competitive mode also meant to get on the field best possible combination of players to counter opponents. At third I got it quite right and almost got switches in order. Not perfect, but good enough to fight for the W. HellGirls won the third quarter with eleven to six and came down the field after third with 21 to 24 for Fireballs. Race was on.

Fourth quarter

“To win the big games you must get to the Free Throw line, and then you must make them.”

– Rick Majerus

There are two things that win games – lay-ups and free-throws. Well, we had the first one going for us. Up to this point the opponents had proven that they are better free-throw shooters than we are. So we made lay-ups. Up to minute seven HellGirls managed to gain the lead for the first time in the game. After good run in offense and strong defense we went up to 27 to 26. Then minute seven hit us. Free-throws. Opponents got two and made both going 27 to 28 for Fireballs. Then we received two short before minute eight. Both missed. I was hoping for at least one, to get it at zero, but oh well… Then the next goal was to get D settled in and get a lay-up to get plus one. Boom. Hand slipped from a HellGirl and Fireballs were on the free-throw line again. First one went in. 27 to 29 for Fireballs. To myself I thought – okay, we can get this done, get the ball, we got about half a minute left, get a lay-up, overtime. Swish, second one in. We stand 27 to 30 with three behind. That was the moment I knew that we had to get a three-pointer, there was no other option. Up to this point girls had understood how to counter full-court press and ball went in, went to the other side and they stood spread out. After a few seconds looking for wholes shot went up, but bounced against rim. A half-centimeter here or there. That’s the game. Then luck happened. Ball went out from the opponents. I had to take a quick timeout. About 4-5 seconds left as we had no visible game clock.

Battling the past three games and half of this game – I just hoped that girls will get it right. I assigned throw-in, two pick makers, trick player behind the three-point shooter. It seemed that they got the drawing. They delivered. That was already a small victory for me. Pick down, roll out to other side, pick up to free-throw, run, pass, shot pulled up. It looked amazing. Then my heart stopped on heartbeat. I fell on the ground to see through legs if my eyes weren’t just playing games. Whistle made everyone silent right after the three-point shot went in. Nothing but net.

Nah, I had seen it right.

As our number 63, assigned to take the last shot, came out of the pick and over the three point line – small field confusion kicked in. Now, as I already explained, fields were smaller. Meaning – three point line ran into the side line at the wing. Despite that there was another field about 60-70 centimeters apart. Now, what I failed to predict in my drawing was that maybe I had to put the shot more up not at the wing. She simply oversaw the lines because of the habit of regular sized field, where three pointer runs down to baseline. As she turned heels went over the side line of this small field. Shot made, didn’t count. With three seconds left and a mild after shock – they failed to foul and we went down with 27 to 30 for Fireballs. Hurts. That’s basketball.

Thanks to this game HellGirls, under my coaching, now have a set play for baseline throw-in called “Over the Line”.

Outro

Well, that’s it folks. Then there was another fun evening with everyone at Players Town, next day early games, rushing to get everything packed and the way home. I won’t write here anymore about all the great fun we had there playing, watching, cheering and just enjoying the life. Some things have to be told not written. Remembered and shared at the dinner tables. Because nothing brings the good moments back as the voices of the tellers who were there and experienced all of this wonderful adventure called United World Games. Best memories are saved in the heart.

Coach Valts

ONE TEAM, HELLENEN GO!

PART ONE HERE

PART TWO HERE

United World Games in Klagenfurt am Wörthersee(AT) Part 2 of 3.

This Post turned to be way longer than I expected, even as a Draft. I ended up fighting with my urge to tell this story from my perspective and to just cut some stuff out to shorten this whole thing and make it “a quick read”. Now, as you can see I decided for former over the latter. This is about 10 minutes of reading, so if you came for a quick re-cap, it’s not here. This is a story.

DAY 1

Bed, for me (or someone my size respectively [1.94m, 110kg]), were a bit too small and in middle of first night I wanted to just sleep on the ground. Only thing that held me against this was the fact that I didn’t have anything to separate myself from the ground itself (except this 3mm industrial rug). There was also no trusting into my sleeping bag either, as it was a cheap last-minute solution. So only thing to do was to sleep as straight as possible and try not to move as much as I had to be used back home.

Nothing is better than waking up early in the morning after a tiring day. Especially when one finds oneself in start of adventure in distant place away from home. It loads you up with energy and I always wonder where it comes from. We are here, we got things to do and you just get up and get going.

No sleeping in, I find myself awake five minutes before six hundred hours. If yesterday was hot and dry, then this morning was humid and cold as it was raining at least half a night and continued to come pouring down. Maybe that was the reason why sleep was so good this night. If I hadn’t the luck last night to hit the showers later than their closing time, I’d be out right now and shower under the Heavens. Sandy came with good news that pouring should stop at around eight hundred hours, about the time we had scheduled to leave our settlement and journey to “Pädag” gym.

One would think that city of tents would still be at rest in this time of a hour. The one, including me, would be very wrong. This was Klagenfurt. People were already wake and going about their morning routines, even the kids. I woke up before I had told my team to, that gave me some extra time to prepare my backpack for the day. Prepare clothing, check on the documents, take my coaching stuff. All set. Now I just had to wake up the youth at six forty-five as I had decided they had no business to be up earlier. For my surprise though, some of the girls were already up! Power of habits. It just made my work easier as I just could say for everybody to wake up and instruct those already wake to make sure that it happens. For me it meant extra time to think and double-check everything.

At about seven hundred we could move out to get some breakfast. As I stepped out of the tent I found myself surrounded already. Team knew what it meant to be on time. Very good. One issue less for me to handle, in coming days I just had to pressure this point to make sure it works every time.

Breakfast was pretty good. One could get oneself full easily and load that energy up in form of bread rolls with cheese or ham, some pancakes, muesli, yogurt and fruits. If one would find oneself a little bit cold at this rainy morning – they served various hot beverages to make oneself warmer. So we did just that – loaded ourselves up as at eight hundred hours we had to move out together with others to Pädag facilities. That was a game of mixed team. Our Romanian friends from “Basketball Leben Project” and some players from our HellBoys and HellGirls teams. They participated out of competition as they exceeded the legal age limit. We were on time and went down to prepare (brush our teeth, change, get bags ready) for the upcoming game and the day, then take some time and wait for others.

As U14 HellGirls established their punctuality, we had to wait a couple of minutes for others before we could move out. Brief moments like this allows to talk over the plan for the day and as the day continues everybody knows what is coming up.

Pouring had stopped and it was fine rain sprinkling over us. It wouldn’t get us too wet. Instead it felt very nice and refreshing on the skin, always an enjoyable change after longer periods of hotness and dry air. It was a very fascinating sight to observe from the side as our group of around 50+ (don’t know the correct number…) people moved through wet streets of Klagenfurt. One team. Mood was as it should be in a rainy day  morning being half-awake. On every breath nostrils were hit of this magical chemical mix of I-don’t-know-what, but oh-it-smells-so-good. Energizing. Our walk soon was over as it took only about ten minutes on foot to reach Pädag. Though, this short distance made all the difference as the group seemed to be more awake as at the time of departure.

The gym. Haha, wow. It hit us hard – court was smaller than a normal court, than we all were used to. Three-point line ran into sidelines at the wings and from outter lines to walls it was barely enough to fit a bench and a person sitting on it. If you stretched out your legs even a little bit – you would find yourself on the court already. This would be a nightmare for HellTeams who were used to spacing and Fast-break basketball. That said, we packed it full with our HellGirls and HellBoys for the game to cheer our players up! Hashtag of picture on BC Hellenen Instagram said #wearecomingwithanarmy. Rightly so. Magical.

For some reason I don’t recall this game very good. Hard to say why. One of the reasons could have been that in my thoughts I was not present. Looking, but not seeing. No register. My mind went over how we will get back to Players Town, eat some lunch and looked at the bus schedules to get the right time when we should leave. I didn’t want to miss nothing, better to be half an hour early than to be five minutes late.

Let’s fast forward a bit. We stayed after the game one and watched the game two a bit before going back to city of tents. There we would get some food left over from yesterday (mostly perishables as cucumbers, tomatoes, bread, meat etc.) and mix it up with some fresh one from above (there were “fast-food” joints upstairs in stadium offering burgers, noodles, salads and such things).

Now we had to make our way to “Sankt Ruprecht 1”. As our game was at fourteen hundred hours, I planned to arrive one hour before tip-off just to be on the safe side. Bus ride was the least of our problem, driver was super nice and let us out right at the stop where we needed to get off. My next worry was number “1” in gym name as it indicates that there must be more courts at this address, but as we stepped into the gym, this worry disappeared and new one took it’s place. There were three courts. St. Ruprecht 1, 2 and 3. All of them next to each other, also “Dreifach Halle” (three-part gym), courts about 70 centimeters away one from another and with NO CURTAINS between them. This promised very messy games itself. Of course as it usually is for courts this size – also here three point line ran into the sidelines at the wings and because of next court being so close, one could easily oversee the lines in the heat of the moment, if one had been used to train and play on normal-sized courts. Habits. This would later cost us an important game.

Oh, by the way, as wonderful coach as I am after parting from our bus it dawned upon me that in my whole planning I had forgot about one very important component needed for the game – to take with us two balls Size 6 for warming up… Now, normally I would go back and get them, but we were on time now already and the ride was far enough not to make it back neither with bus nor running on foot. Though, thanks to Heavens once again I got lucky as it turned out Sandy was playing in St. Ruprecht with U12w HellGirls right before us. They had some Size 5 balls, but it was way better than no balls at all, so for our next two games we would do a warm-up with these two.

My focus was on Game 1 where we would meet Austrian home team – “Team Kärnten”. Gut feeling said that this is the game to take today as our chances against Greek girls would be slimmer. As we waited for other games to finish we did some pre-game briefing where I wanted to determine what offense we would be running. Here I stumbled upon the fact, that they had been improvising most of their games as they just went – ‘let us play as we play, we just “get” the offense’. Oh, boy – you just don’t get the offense, this will be hard time in scoring. Once again I had to work from behind, from defense and make them push and control the ball in specific way. I awaited that as always – opponents would mostly suck at shooting or have just one (max two) good shooters per team at this age group. They would want to go through middle and that’s where we would have to close it and force ball to sideline and baseline. If that worked, we had a chance. Offensively I should mostly rely on Team itself and their ability to use what they’ve learned in previous season. My goal was to get them out of the middle, spread the defense and penetrate-kick. Take open shots if given. As I learned later through tournament, I could easily better their defensive end as girls had the hunger to work for it, but offensive end had to develop massively in future if we wanted even to have a chance the next season. Now, it was time to get on the floor.

Game 1: HellGirls versus “Team Kärnten” (AT)

Note: Game mode was 4 quarters with 8 minutes of playtime each on “running time” (that means, only the last 2 minutes of the last quarter are being stopped), 5 fouls, 1 minute between quarters and 2 minutes half time break. Very fast paced game and as it turned out – impossible to foul out more aggressive, fouling teams. You could just avoid baskets and push turnovers by aggressive, fouling defense. Not something I was willing to push as a coach, Hellenen play as clean defense as possible.

First quarter

As awaited opponents started strong and our offense was lacking. within four minutes of playing time we were down 9 to 0. Biggest problem was their #5 which scored 7 points out of those 9. We had to get her locked down. After minute four our #63 managed to score with ‘and one’ and also made the free throw. For unknown reason to me opponents took a time out at 5 minute mark which worked in our favor. We bettered our defense, but our offense still couldn’t make baskets. Shots went up, but didn’t go in. Team Kärnten made two more buckets and now lead with +10, 13 to 3. After few tries we managed to get ball under and our #68 scored twice keeping our head just above the water and in the game. After that at minute seven opponents scored another basket and we got free throws for our #68 from which one was made. We ended first quarter with 7 point deficit; 8 to 15 for Team Kärnten.

For 2nd quarter we had to press opponents more on defense and make them uncomfortable, get defensive AND offensive rebounds and spread their defense. Get the pace of the game down. Be smarter. Take better shots.

Second quarter

Oooh YES! HellGirls came into second quarter clanging and banging. Our #63 opened the quarter with a beautiful 3 pointer in the first minute. Penetration started to yield fruits and shots were better, girls pulled off ‘and one’ (free throw missed), and put up some more points. We managed to push them more on the side and deny the middle, they made only one basket up to seventh minute! We responded with some more buckets  after and going 18 to 17 at minute seven. Opponents made two baskets taking the lead, but HellGirls, seeing the bleeding of their opponents, didn’t let them recover and responded  with another two buckets down – we went into the half-time break with good 1 point lead; 22 to 21 for HellGirls.

This was one of those games where two teams of the same level met. Win is therefore determined by the willpower, unselfishness and focus. Now, I had to keep the moral of the team high and motivate them to push through. What I liked about this team was the chemical reaction. They were good together. Lacking some practical skill of basketball, but they were good together. That is something that I felt other team lacked.

Third quarter

Third quarter confirmed my expectations. Hard game. Referees forced fast paced game. Not much of fouling, not much of rewards for it. Whole quarter got two free throw attempts, one for opponents with ‘and one’ and one for us as two regular shots (both missed). Much back and forth for this quarter, we sticked to our plan in defense and denied middle penetration, pushing ball to the side. Girls had much to learn from this defense, but for now against this team it worked just fine. Opponents made 6 points this quarter and we made 4. We went out with -1 point; 26 to 27 for Team Kärnten.

Fourth quarter

This was it. I did my best to talk up the HellGirls and get that flame going. We went into fourth strong with dedication to take this Game 1 win. Defense worked beautifully and opponents couldn’t find a way to attack it and score for seven (!!!) minutes. We used this time to get some baskets and take the lead with 33 to 27. HellGirls missed three free throws again and I began to see a pattern – this is what could cost us games in the long run, but for now – we dictate the game. Team Kärnten made their first points in fourth quarter after minute seven after receiving some free throws. Made both and burned our lead only to 4 points. After that it went basket here and there. We made one, they made one, we made and one, missed the free throws (pattern…), they got some shots, both went off, we got some shots and also both went off. At the end opponents managed to get another bucket, but the game was already at expiration. HellGirls took down Team Kärnten in hard game 37 to 33. Win was in our hands and it was good.

Now we had to wait about thirty to forty minutes to the next game at sixteen hundred  hours against “Katerini” from Greece. They had a game on the court next to us against “Stuttgart Eagles” from USA. They won it with +2, 20 to 18. It surely will be a tough game.

What worried me was the lack of energy for girls after the game. In downtime they seemed to “fall asleep” a bit. Mentally already back in the camp and eating dinner, chilling. Against strong team like “Katarini” this mental state could definitely be of a big issue. They are prepared and has good offensive patterns. Nothing less I’d expect from Greeks at world class tournament like this.

Game 2: HellGirls versus “Katerini” (GR)

First half

Let’s say – I expected no less. They were prepared, they were strong, they were focused. We were not. The mental focus was simply not there for HellGirls. I tried to get them wake up as fast as possible, but team was sleeping whole first half of the game. HellGirls scored first two points and then it just went downhill from there. Katerini were dominating. They had a good defense, they could lock individually and pressure the ball. For offense they ran two things: 1. ball hand-off over the 3 point line by swinging it side to side till defense failed to switch, so causing a hole to penetrate; 2. setting a post on the free throw line and playing the ball in, then doing pick+cut causing the defense a hard to defend switch or an empty cut and pass. If that didn’t work they could also pull up some jump shots outside from zone through board and make some points that way. Very strong and well prepared offense. HellGirls weren’t ready to defend it.

This offensive pattern completely crashed us down in first half. As they were scoring, we weren’t, if we went over, they locked us down. We lost first quarter with 4 to 16 and second quarter with 0 to 12. We went into the half time break with 4 to 28. Morale was down, focus was down. There was only one thing to do – up the work on defensive end. By now it was clear to me that with  this team at this moment there was no way I could match offensive power of Katerini. What I could do is to try and stop their offense or at least slow it down. First, we had to get our switches right. It was clear that HellGirls had not met opponents of this caliber and didn’t know how to defend tactics they used. If you can’t win the game – you can learn from it.

Third quarter

Third quarter goal was to receive less points. Learn to read and defend the offensive pattern of Katerini and do good switches. Communicate on D. It started to work. Because of that also mental state came back to the girls and they were more focused than before. We could slow down the opponents significantly and receive just 7 points in third quarter meanwhile making 6 points ourselves. It won’t win us the game, but it would teach us some valuable lessons. We could’ve also taken this quarter, but sadly it can’t be done when free throw shooting is off the point. This had to be take care of till the start of the season and go up to 50% at least. HellGirls went down this quarter with just 6 to 7. Way, way better than previous two quarters. Stand was 10 to 35 for Katerini.

Fourth quarter

If you can’t get what you want, then want what you can get. To keep the team sane and give them the sense of achievement against more prepared team I set up a following goals: 1. get our score over 15 and 2. don’t let them score 50. And they got it, based on experience from third quarter and some guidance from me, HellGirls played beautiful fourth quarter defensively! I saw the potential this team had if handled correctly. We managed to get three baskets and fulfill the first goal and due to the good defensive end we received just 8 points that way finishing also the second goal. We went down to strong opponent who took us by surprise and out of focus with 16 to 43. Still proud of my team by being able to gather themselves mentally and execute beautiful second half. This is something that will create a good team in days to come.

Day 1 Evening

After the game everybody was well-deserved hungry. I decided to take alternative bus route which seemed shorter as the original one as the buses drove only in one direction – in circles. Waiting for the bus allowed me some time to explain a few things to the kids about what had happened today on the court and deepen their understanding of the game. Answer some questions. Of course those were just a few minutes as focus and interest quickly wanders off at this age. I will take it though, better to use five minutes like these and it will add up over time.

Well, bus ride back to stadium was fun, mood was great and we had a win today. Back at camp it was time to hit the showers, freshen up and get something to eat. After that it was a free time till twenty-two hundred. Some watched sports on big screen, some went to play some games. What kids always do. Tomorrow we had to get up and be in gym at nine hundred hours as at zero-nine-thirty we were meeting “Stuttgart Eagles” (USA). This game would determine our advancement out of group stage. If won, we would go out as second and have a chance to play for first place or third, if lost we would finish third at the group stage and then there was only one game for fifth place. Important game, once again strong opponents, but for now – it was time to rest and bond with others.

 

Coach Valts

ONE TEAM, HELLENEN GO!

PART ONE HERE

PART THREE HERE

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