Men’s Basketball Draws Quincy for Regional Game

Malek Harris, Staff Writer

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For the very first game of the regional tournament, we drew a Quincy team that was full of experience and players who can really get into the paint to score the ball. Throughout the week, Coach Happy kept us mentally and physically prepared. Each night he paid for our meals and dinner as a team, and we got to eat at our favorite restaurants in town. More importantly, he kept us focused on the game, texting us individually to tell us our importance to the team, and this run we needed to make.

In practice, he pushed us even harder every day to pay attention to detail, stay locked in for the entire practice, and to be ready to grind. We had great leadership from our seniors, Kenjah Bosley and Jordan Jacks, to make sure we embraced and cherished the opportunity we had. I stuck to my normal routine throughout the week. I am a very superstitious person, so I made sure I stayed with everything I was doing before, in terms of extra workouts, meals, etc. All in all, I think everyone was anxious and ready to go.

The tournament was set to be played at Bellarmine University in Louisville. Although the games were to start Saturday, we arrived a day early as a team. Happy wanted us to get a feel for the gym, so we had practice the night before on Bellarmine’s floor. The gym was absolutely beautiful, I thought it was a great venue for the regional tournament. I love our Sportscenter, but the Bellarmine gym had a different type of liveliness to it. So, that Friday night, we got a good team workout in and messed around on the floor afterwards. From half court shooting competitions to teammates chasing one another around, we made sure we had fun with the moment, outside of the work. For dinner, Coach Happy took us to Joella’s Hot Chicken, a place I had never heard of before until I got to Louisville. The chicken was some of the best I’ve ever had, to say the least. Going back to the hotel after, our teammates talked about how blessed we were, and how we were all ready for the journey that started the next day.

The next morning, we woke up and had breakfast as a team. As I looked around the room I saw a different type of focus in everyone’s face than I had ever seen. I knew then and there this would be a special day. All I could envision was how hyped we would be after we beat Quincy to advance to the next round. A few hours later, we were set and on our way to the game. When we got to the gym, it was twice as packed as our conference tournament. We all knew it was the biggest game we’d play in all year.

Warming up in the game felt unreal, the feeling out of just being out there to compete was one that I loved and embraced. My adrenaline was pumping. Both teams got off to a slow start at the beginning of the game, but Quincy was the first to make a legitimate run. When they jumped out to a 21-5 lead, it just seemed like everything was going wrong for us.

We never gave up though, slowly and surely we fought our way back. Quincy’s toughness and discipline was hard to overcome, but we continued to fight. Until finally, we had the game within 3 points. The only problem was we only had 1.2 seconds left to make the shot that ties the game up. There was no question who our first option was, Kenjah Bosley. In the huddle, Happy also told me to be ready to make the shot, because I had practiced them more than enough, and the ball may come to me. Kenjah did end up getting the ball and taking the shot, but he missed.

Quincy beat us 68-65, in a great tournament game. We have nothing but respect for them and what they’ve accomplished. It was still a great season for our team in what we built and accomplished. I am looking forward to making it back to the tournament next year, and going much farther.

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Men’s Basketball Draws Quincy for Regional Game