The triple-hitter intramural basketball tournament in April did not disappoint San Quentin spectators. The event captivated the crowd, but left three teams sulking in their losses.
Team RJ fell to Team 94 Feet, 69-33. Team EJ topped L’s Team, 36-30. And in the game dubbed the main event, Team We Trippin edged Team Finish It, 51-50.
That morning the sun dried the basketball court, giving the athletes and coaches an ideal surface to showcase their play and skills. The players were in team jerseys and the referees were in their zebra stripes.
The clock and scoreboard were in a corner of the court. Bench players perched on the sidelines.
The setting for the game gave the tournament an authentic feel of basketball. The excited gasps and expressions on spectators’ faces when Tyler Cooper went up for a slam-dunk and hung on the rim provided a genuine basketball moment. It felt like being in an arena filled with fans.
“We was counted out, but we had the confidence to keep going,” said the head coach of Team RJ, Dennis Rogers, after an exhibition game earlier in the week. That game was his coaching debut when his team beat Team EJ, 66-55.
However, Coach Rogers’ coaching techniques on game day against Team 94 Feet could not match up, even with the talents of newly recruited big man, Griffin. The seven-footer led the team with 16 points and two blocked shots, but it was not enough.
Team 94 Feet’s three best shooters were Tyler Cooper, Khurazze Williams and Mason Ryan, who put up a combined 50 points to seal the victory.
After the defeat of Team RJ and the victory of Team 94 Feet, the fast-paced game of Team EJ and L’s Team got underway. The game was all defense with both teams employing the full-court press. Both coaches played in the game and scored.
Coach L of Team L had eight points, coach EJ of Team EJ had 11, and his teammate Big E had the highest score of 12.
The game came down to the last 16 seconds. The referee’s duck whistle signaled many foul calls. But Coach L’s time management tactic could not prevent the four-point lead that Team EJ held at the buzzer.
“All we have to do as a team is continue to play together, stay together and play good defense,” said Coach Ferdinand Flowers, head coach of Team EJ.
It was his team’s first win of the season. He said that he and his team only need to keep the winning spirit alive and learn the team skill-set and get better for playoff action.
Delvy Adams went on one for Team We Trippin later that evening. He scored 24 points, half of the 51 total for his team, to give them the win over Team Finish It.
The basketball program teaches the players discipline, respect and good conduct. One of the most important attributes athletes learn is accountability. That is what Rick Hale, the center of Team Finish It, showed when he took the blame for his team’s loss.
“Our loss was my fault 100%,” said Hale. “I had eight free-throws and I missed all of them. If I would have practiced more and been focused we would have won the game if only I would have made them free-throws.”
The big center vowed to go all-in to make sure that he can contribute his best to the team.
“If you dig deep enough you can make success out of failure,” he said.