Friday, March 8
Round Two- Semi Finals
After our game (two down - whoop whoop!), we watched the Stetson-Mercer game to see whom we would play, and possibly pick up some new information. Again, Coach wanted us to pay attention to the game and not text or use our cell phones. Watching each team and the different players, it was crazy how much you could really see. I know I’ve said it before, but when you actually watch the game, you start to see tendencies and preferences. There are so many tendencies players have that are so visible. Sometimes, it’s almost to the point where you can predict the move they will make or the shot they’ll shoot.
Stetson ended up winning. Mercer played them close most of the game, but Stetson ended up pulling away in the end. This will be the sixth time we have played Stetson in two years. They are also our travel partners, so we usually have a full week to prepare for them every time we play them. I think it’s safe to say we both know each other pretty well. They are a very athletic team, and have a lot of very good players. We are going to have to play a great team game if we want to finish off this tournament. Hopefully, we can carry something over from our game today.
After the second semifinal game, we had about forty-five minutes between the end of the game and our short walk-through back at Mount de Sales. I was SO tired from the early morning, so I decided to take a nap. I almost fell asleep before even getting under the covers. I like to keep our room at a pleasant 69 degrees though, so I couldn’t quite fall asleep on top of the covers (No, Brittany. It’s not freezing, it’s perfect).
We went to walk-through and did a lot of personnel preparation and went over a few of Stetson’s sets. It wasn’t long, but it was a good refresher for everything we needed to know and some things we might have forgotten.
When we got back to the hotel, we had about thirty minutes before we were back in the boardroom to go over the scouting report and film. Coach made the four seniors split up the scouting report to recite among them. We watched a few edits from them playing other teams, and a lot of edits from the previous two times we played them. We saw a lot of the areas where we could make improvements to increase scoring opportunities and limit their good looks at the basket. We also so what we did well and why it worked the previous two times. I think we are about as prepared as we can be going into game preparation tomorrow.
After film, we were all super hyped and ready to go cheer our men on in their semifinal game against Stetson. In the last meeting between the two teams, our men were winning at Stetson midway through the second half, but Stetson came back and took it from them. This game was also for a chance to play Mercer in the Championship game tomorrow, so we knew there would be a lot of intensity in the game. We were all on the bus waiting to head over to the gym. It’s about a two-minute bus ride from our hotel to the gym, and we were out of control the entire two minutes. Everyone was chanting and jumping around. Steph Haas even went as far as yelling that we were going to make Mercer’s arena like "the Nest" because we were going to get so crazy in the stands (No, we didn’t end up getting that loud).
The game was pretty good. There were a lot of big plays, and a few bad ones from our team, but they ended up getting the double-figure win. There were a few awesome hustle plays. Chase Fieler made a diving play to try to keep on possession alive. Sherwood Brown (A-Sun Player of the Year) also dove over one of the managers and almost over the water jug, but ended up knocking it all over in attempt to save a possession. Both plays ended up going out of bounds, but the hustle they made to try to save one possession was really awesome to see. And Sherwood almost jumped his bench and a water jug. It’s incredible how that boy can jump when he wants to.
Halftime was probably the best halftime I’ve seen in a long time. Azul [FGCU Mascot] and the Stetson Hatter guy had a dance off a half court. Azul definitely rocked it, but the Hatter put up a valiant fight. Then the mascots and both cheerleading squads did a Harlem shake when the music crew put the song on. It was definitely an entertaining two or three minutes.
Finally, we came back to the hotel to rest up for the big game tomorrow. My dad gave me Jay Bilas’s book on toughness, so I’m probably going to read some of that to see if it can help settle the feeling coming on in my stomach again. I’ve heard it’s an awesome book, so I’m really looking forward to it. After that, it will be a little basketball talk with Brittany (Kennedy) as we fall asleep.
We just have to go out there tomorrow and keep doing what we’re doing. This is the game we’ve set ourselves up for all season, and it’s finally here. It should be a good game against two very good teams. We just have to execute our game plan, and leave everything on the court. We’re about to head into the opportunity most athletes dream about: a chance to play for an opportunity to go dancing. Hopefully the next time I’m writing, I’ll be a champion.
PLAY LIKE AN EAGLE