The crowd went wild. It was now only a one point game. Boulder Bulldogs: 42, Aspen Wildcats: 43. Just three minutes before that we were down by 11. This may have seemed like any other game, but this was the championship game. This decided the winner of the Colorado Basketball League Playoffs. But, this was the biggest game in our season. We were the underdogs, just looking for the win.
¨Let’s go Bulldogs! Let’s go Bulldogs!¨ The wood ground was shaking. The wood floor was a monstrous earthquake. Nine seconds left and we needed to get the ball back. We intentionally fouled their point guard as we knew, he only shot 50% from the free throw line. 1st shot, miss. 2nd shot, another miss. Colin, our superstar grabbed the rebound. He pushed his long blonde hair out of the way. The whistle was as loud as a gunshot, timeout. Watching from the bench, I sat there as the starters walked towards Coach Doug. Yes, I was on the bench. It feels like I have not played all year. Being on such a good team, my opportunities were immensely limited. To play in the game was all I wanted to do.
I started to drift off from the huddle, ignoring Coach and everything he was saying. I looked around the gym. Light blue paint covered with pictures showing teamwork and courage surrounded the court. The beige court was very plain, covered with feet marks. The fans and I were silent, laconic to see how the game ends.
“Hunter! Listen up! You are going in the game!” Coach yelled at me. His bald head was shiny, you could see the lights from above. “Eric’s ankle is starting to hurt, we need a replacement.” After he said that, I couldn’t deduce why Coach wanted ME in the game, I didn’t even make a shot all that season. “Okay listen up! Give the ball to Colin. He is our top shooter. Get him the ball!”
Then, the whistle blew once again to get the game going again. The ball was inbounded from the opponent’s basket. Ten seconds, Colin quickly brought the ball up past half court. Nine, the other team trapped Colin, leaving him unable to shoot. Eight, Colin bounced the ball under one of the defenders legs. The ball was running towards me.
“Hunter, you got this!” Colin told me, but I wasn’t listening. I was in the zone, this was my time to shine. Seven, I had a wide open jumper and shot the ball. My light brown hair waved in front of my blue eyes and freckled face. Six, the ball soared through the air, it felt like it was up for a century. Five, the ball started to fall. I rushed the shot knowing that I did not put enough power on it. Just then, the ball bonked of the front of the rim, it was off. My face froze in disbelief. I was so muddled. I thought I lost the game for my team. Four, the other team started to celebrate, thinking the game was over. ¨Hunter! Grab the rebound, there is still time left!¨ Coach screamed from the top of his lungs. Three, out of everyone’s surprise, the ball bounced right back to me. Next, with two seconds I did a crossover on the defender, making him fall and bringing him to his knees, and did a step-back to create space between me and the players sprinted towards me to block my shot. Shooting the ball instantly without thinking. I was more confident on this shot than the first. “BUZZ,” the buzzer loudly sounded. This shot decided the game. Make it and my team wins its first ever championship. Miss and we all go home in utter disappointment.
Swish, the ball went straight through the basket. The crowd was stunned, too surprised
to even cheer. No time left, the game was officially over. The officials handed Coach Doug the trophy. He instantly gave it right to me.
“Hunter, you can keep this. You won the game for us. I expect you to come back and play with us, as a starter, next year.” I nodded back at him and smiled, knowing then that I was definitely going to.