Boys and Girls Club basketball travel squad brings it home
Last weekend, the Boys and Girls Club of Robertson County’s (BGCRC) 8th grade basketball team turned some heads. With only 5 men traveling to an Alodia Basketball tournament, one of many on the Alodia Basketball Circuit, the team took first place. But, said coach and BGCRC director Roy Johnson, “It’s not just that they won, but how they won.”
First, leaving at 6 am on a Saturday proved to be a little too much for some. Only five of the 16 youngsters in the program got to the Club on time to make the trip to Tomball. Five was enough.
Next, the five were facing some Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) teams with a long history of competition. The BGCRC team is relatively new at everything.
Also, they faced teams that were part of multi-level organizations—meaning organizations that have teams playing on several levels from the same local organization. In other words, while BGCRC was five guys and a coach alone, many teams had older or younger teams who, when they were not playing, support the team from their organization on the court. Some of those supporting teams could be quite aggressive and verbally abusive. “Shut it out,” said Johnson, and the travel squad did—all the way to the top.
The tourney began with “pool play,” meaning teams had to defeat the other teams in their pool, then the winners of each pool had to play each other. The BGCRC guys made short work of defeating the other teams in Pool A in two games, then went on to face the winner of Pool B.
A senior team from the Katy-based basketball club that took the Pool B 8th grade championship had already gotten in a fight—the fist-throwing kind—before the championship game, and Coach Johnson knew he would have to help his team keep both their ears and months shut. It wasn’t easy, but Johnson said they showed amazing character by not responding to verbal abuse from the older team, probably the loudest part of the fan group attending the championship game.
In a 65-64 point squeaker, BGCRC just played their game through two 14-minute halves without responding to jeers on and off the court. They also overcame fatigue, playing against teams with plenty of substitutes to relieve their first stringers. And speaking of being short-handed, they played with only four men on the court after one of their players fouled out in the last two minutes of the game.
Johnson explained that the 8th grade team is essentially self-coached on the court. They have learned what to do in several eventualities but it’s their job to make the right corrections. They all know how to play every position, and they all know how to direct play on the court, with DaMarcus Rodriguez often taking a leadership role but all assuming it at one time or another. It’s all about focus, said player Patrick Pierce, and they did it on Saturday.
According to Johnson, “It’s mostly about character,” and he believes his guys—Pierce, Rodriguez, JaQuan Thompson, Dwain Miller, and Maurice Golson—showed a lot of it on Saturday. “In total, 16 youth participate in the project,” he added, “earning their tournament fees by participating in community service and service to the Club, volunteering at community fundraisers and events.”
Johnson and the BGCRC Board wish to thanks all those in the Robertson County community who have supported the Boys and Girls Club. They believe that support is definitely paying off.
Melissa Freeman / [email protected]