Sunday, February 21, 2010

League Championship

As many of you know I've been assistant coaching at Santa Cruz High School. The experience has been undoubtedly one of the most profound of my life, especially in terms of dealing with kids and having the opportunity to build based on a common love.

As great as many of my classroom experiences have been, I'd have to say they pale in comparison to what we've shared throughout this season. Overseeing the growth and development of a team from November to now has offered a very unique set of dynamics that's ranged from exhilaration to borderline insanity.

Yet through it all, the one constant has remained coach. Simply put, Bill Domhoff is the man. I couldn't have asked for a better person to assist. His approach to the game and his demeanor with the guys is extraordinary. What's impressed me most has been his ability to read the guys and modify his interactions with them based on what they need most in that moment.

Of course some of the guys didn't see the bigger picture when it all began, but that's what's been equally impressive. After a few initial conflicts, everyone has bought into the team concept and the foundation laid by coach. We had one kid quit, which was an absolute blessing because he lacked the character to be a piece of the team that was steadily finding it's identity. And more than anything learning to trust each other.

As ideal as coach's vibe is, ultimately it boils down to the guys. And these kids put the C in Coachable. From day one they've been receptive and willing to work on whatever we put before them. The results of which led to a 15-9 regular season record with a 10-2 mark in league. Both losses coming at the hands of St. Francis. A senior heavy team that finished the season at 22-0.

As fate would have it, we met them in the league championship last night. In a jam packed gym, the guys laced em up and went to work with a very clear purpose. Be Champions.

After great preparation, our guys came out and played the perfect game. Defensively they communicated like veterans, boxed out with discipline and maintained an intensity that deflated any hopes our opponent had of continuing the magical ride. We held them to 11 points in the 1st half, including just 3 in the 2nd quarter. It was a clinic.

On the offensive side of the ball, we executed with patience and diligence. Not really having an impressive shooting night, we still managed to come up big when needed. This was highlighted by one of our Junior's Zen Maki, stepping up big. Sinking clutch bucket after clutch bucket as he knifed through their defense seemingly at will. He finished with 19 and almost all of them left us pumping our fists and nodding our heads as if to say Hell YEAH!

When the final buzzer rang it was 40-31 Santa Cruz. And for the 1st time all year it all made sense. Every practice, every coaching point, every frustration, every celebration, it all culminated and took shape right there before our eyes. The end result...Champions!

I couldn't be happier for these guys and their families. Cause it was definitely a magical night.

That being said...time to get back to work cause we've got sectionals to come.

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