Amistad Basketball – Week 4 – 4 Straight Wins and a Whole lot of Complacency

After winning one of our Christmas Tournaments, and riding a wave of 4 straight wins amidst having a decent record of 5 and 1, the loss to East Haven in the Championship Game on Wednesday night was a clear indication of how much our team really needs to play with more emotional intensity throughout the course of an entire game.

After using all 5 timeouts to address in game strategy, as well as to wake a few players up – Probably the worst thing that a Coach can watch his team do is beat itself.  As a coaching staff – that’s what we witnessed on Wednesday.  Much of it due to a lack of intensity throughout the course of the game by a few of our starters.  Sure, we scrapped back with 4 minutes to go and it was a 2 point game with under a minute to play, and the crowd was excited, and there were several steals, and loose balls, and we made a few shots… But in the end… I was glad that we lost.

I couldn’t take winning another game while witnessing some of our players go through the motions and violate our defensive rules or hustle principles – all the while thinking that it’s ok because we are winning.  It was about as disappointed as I have been with the team in the 3 years that I have been the Head Coach at Amistad.  Simply because 2 years ago – I watched this same group of Sophomores that were undersized, under-manned, and under-skilled get pounded game after game. When we were losing every game a few years back – we fought for every single loose ball, and nobody every beat us up and down the floor.  That is all we stressed as a coaching staff in games.  Hustle. Hustle. Hustle!  Toughness. Toughness. Toughness! That is the foundation of what we have built our program on.

As our team became more skilled, we started to implement a more complex offense and defense in order to compete against and win against more talented teams. Now as Seniors – with some talent, experience, speed, skill and size – our players have gotten away from what has gotten them this far…  Grit!

A team that doesn’t play their hearts out from the beginning to end of the game doesn’t deserve to win.  And basketball is one of those team sports where if any one guy doesn’t play their hardest at all times – the other 4 are at a tremendous disadvantage.  And sooner or later – that disadvantage will be exploited, as one of my former mentors used to say “Hard Work Beats Talent When Talent Doesn’t Work Hard.”

The good News is we get to start all over again and go back to work with what I am sure will be a renewed desire from the players to practice harder, and to play more together as we move forward.  It was a good lesson for us all, though – with how just a little bit of success (4 straight wins) came a whole lot of complacency.

Looking forward to week 5 of the season.

Coach Walton

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