I went to my grandson Josh’s final game for the tournament today. His team took 3rd. I am very proud of him. Now I know that many people might not think 3rd place is something to write home about, but in this case, they would be wrong. My grandson Josh has been playing basketball since he was in grade school. He played 3 years at the Boys and Girls Club, 1 year for Pineview Elementary School, and this is his 2nd season with Centennial Junior High School.  He is in 7th grade now. Josh has always been what would be called a support man on the team. He can rebound and pass well, but dribbling and shooting were not his best talents in the sport. Still each year Josh has improved greatly, and as he continues to play, I have no doubt that he will be a player the other team knows about very soon.

As I said, this was the battle for 3rd place, and the game was tied at 11 – all, until seconds before the half, at which time the Casper Classical Academy team scored 2 more points. Both teams fought hard that first half. When Josh’s team, The Centennial Eagles, took to the court after the break, they were somewhat rattled. Between the beginning of the half and the 3 minute mark in the 4th quarter, the Casper Classical Academy team had moved their lead to 19 – 17…

Enter Josh!! Kevin, my son-in-law, and Josh’s dad had talked to him for a second or two right before they started back up. He told him to take the shots when he could. Josh got the ball and the key was a mass of players doing their best to stop the score, so Josh dribbled, turned, and shot the ball for a beautiful 3 point basket. The crowd literally went wild, and Josh’s team just about lost it. Suddenly the fire was back in those boys, and Josh’s confidence soared.

It was never that Josh couldn’t shoot, he just didn’t think he could. About a minute later, Josh found himself with the ball again, and this time he didn’t hesitate. He ran, jumped and shot the ball, for a 2 point basket. Moments later, he was again in position to shoot a 3 point basket, but the other team now knew what he was capable of, so they were on him…and they fouled him. Now Josh had a free throw shot…in fact, 3. This had not been a strong suit for Josh either…and he was shaking from excitement and exhaustion I’m sure. Still, he made one out of three shots for a total of 6 points in a game, where before he would get maybe 2 points. Josh was a wild man!!

The score was now 23 – 19, and it was the other team’s turn to be rattled. There would be 4 more points scored by Josh’s team, but the entire team knew who won the game for them. It was the kid who managed to keep his cool under fire and score an amazing 3 point shot to put the fire back into a team that was feeling defeated. It was Josh…and it was his day to shine.

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