Play 7

Part 4 of 5
By Pastor Dave

            Once I had a player that was in a terrible shooting slump at the end of the season.  His name was Troy Young.  The slump was so bad that in a tournament we won, a coach in the bleachers criticized me for letting him shoot and miss so much.  I knew Troy was a good shooter but he had lost his confidence.  We were heading into the state tournament the next week and I thought if I could let him keep shooting he would work out of the slump.  I knew I would really need Troy in the tournament.  To move on to the state semi-finals, we had to beat a team that was 19-0.  We were heavy underdogs.  But with 45 seconds left, we were only down by five points.  I called a time out and one of their players came over and thanked us for the nice try but insinuated that it was all over.  His insult galvanized our team in the huddle.  I called for a full court press.  I challenged the guys that I did not think it was over and we were not done yet!  When we put our hands together to break the timeout, we looked into each others eyes.  I knew I had gotten through because it was as if we were one together.  What happened next is the stuff of legends!  We immediately stole the ball and scored and now we were down by 3 points.  They inbounded the ball and would you believe we stole it again, got fouled, and hit both free throws.  Now we are only down by one.  On the inbounds we stole the ball a third time, needing one more basket to win.  Open man.  Open spot.  Open shot.  The ball was flying around the perimeter as the clock ticked down.  Ten, nine, eight, seven, six. I was yelling “Get it to Ron Filer”, who was our best shooter, averaging 25 points a game that year.  Five, four, three.  It was not possible to get it to Ron but the pass went down on the base line about 12 feet from the basket to guess who?  Troy Young, my player who was in this terrible slump.  Two seconds. One second.  I watched him release the ball then I turned and saw the score clock go from one second to zero.  When I looked back I knew I would know the outcome of the game.  If Troy made it we would win, and if he missed we would lose by one.  We would be eliminated from the tournament.  The prideful player’s prediction in our huddle would come true. Troy took the shot and hit nothing but net.  We won and moved on to the state finals.  My faith in him paid off.  The lesson learned was that he had the courage to take the open shot.

To be continued ………………..


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