This post is about a week late but I figured after an awesome championship week of NCAA basketball, March Madness kicking off this week, and a HUUUUUGE overtime win for my former basketball club in Ireland, the Galway Titans, to send them to the Ireland National League championship, I should share the experience I had a little over a week ago in one of the most fun games I ever played in.
So two Saturdays ago my team in France, St. Oren’s Basket, played against Bruguieres, a strong team who, I don’t know how, is in the bottom half of the standings of our league. We went into the game with 8 players, as some players were out of town on work or battling injuries, including our captain, Jean-Phi. We started off the game and literally could not throw the ball in the ocean. We were getting good looks at the basket but nothing was going down for us so we resorted to pounding the ball inside to our big man, Jean-Ma, who kept us in the game, before picking up his second foul and leaving the game. We played great defense, so fortunately, as we couldn’t score, neither could they. Personally, I took a bunch of shots in the first half thinking each one was good, but to no avail. I finished the first half with 1 point. We were trailing 27-24 (a first quarter score) after a dreadful first half by both teams.
The second half started and shots began to fall for both teams. They had a big man show up at halftime who had a big impact on the game as well as some of us being able to start knocking down some jumpshots. So fast forward to the 4th quarter and the score was going back and forth with us getting as close as 1 point, then back to 3 or 5. We just couldn’t seem to get over the hump. Then as time began winding down we tied it up when Magnus, a teammate knocked down a big jumpshot for us. They got a couple looks at the basket as time expired but thankfully they couldn’t get the ball in the hoop. Overtime.
First overtime starts and they jump out to a quick lead, as we were dealing with bad foul trouble..remember only 8 players. With about 3 seconds left and us down by 3, my teammate Manu put up a 3 pointer and got fouled. 3 foul shots with almost no time on the clock. Ice in his veins Manu knocks down all 3 foul shots to tie the game. They miss their last second shot attempt again. 2nd overtime.
Once again, we got ourselves into a hole. Not to mention another player fouling out. With less than a minute and a half to go, a couple players started stepping up. We scored 7 points in about 45 seconds, including 2 HUGE 3’s from my teammate Vincent. We tied it up. 3rd overtime.
As we walk back out to the court, I tell Vincent how big he stepped up for us. He looks at me and says to me (in French) “Tim I can’t do that again. You need to do it.” We play the third overtime with another player fouling out for us. So we play decent and are able to gain a 1 point advantage with less than 10 seconds to go. They put up a couple desperate shot attempts with us defending like crazy. They miss a jumpshot but get an offensive rebound. The player, number 8, goes up and gets fouled as time expires. At this point we only had 5 players left. That foul left us with 4, should we go to another overtime. #8 steps to the line. No time on the clock. He makes 2 they win. He misses both, we win. Makes 1, 4th overtime. He misses the first. Makes the second. 4th overtime.
We start the 4th overtime. 4 players for us, 5 players for them. Nonetheless, I was still confident that we were going to win. We defended like crazed animals and were able to force a bad shot or a turnover on each of their first 4 possessions. Also, I began to shoot without a conscious. I knocked down 3 3 pointers and Murphy, who had a less than stellar game in regulation, also came up big for us in overtime with a couple strong baskets down low not to mention some big defensive plays and rebounds. We demoralized them with only 4 players in the 4th overtime and were able to pull out the victory 103-93.
This game was so much fun. After each overtime I kept coming into the huddle laughing and just saying, “This is fun!” It was a great game and I will also proudly say that it was my first 30 point game of my career. The next day Regis, one of the fathers and coaches from the club, saw the Bruguieres coach the next day and the coach said “L’americain est un meurtrier,” meaning “The American is a killer.” It was a great game where everyone stepped up and played an important role and we were thrilled to come out with the victory!
On to this Saturday where we have a very difficult game ahead of us against the first place team. I’m pumped!
Also I’d like to say congratulations again to the Titans for winning that big game against a very tough opponent. Check out my man, Coili Collins’ blog THE ANKLE BREAKER for a full recap of the game in Ireland. Good luck this weekend in the championship boys! Take care of business!!!