Within the first few possessions of the St. Demetrios Warriors 6th Grade team’s game on Saturday, it quickly became apparent that the Warriors were on the way to a win. The final score was 37-4, but the margin of victory was not as impressive as the manner in which these boys played.
The Warriors never lost their focus. Teamwork and discipline never suffered because of the lopsided nature of the game. I have no doubt the Warriors let up a little during the game (a common show of respect in blowout wins), but they maintained the basic strategy that the coaches laid out in the pre-game strategy session. This is a credit to Coach Spiro Maglaras, Coach Louie Atsaves and the Warriors team.
I was in that pre-game meeting thanks to the hospitality of the coaching staff. I saw Coach Spiro and Coach Lou stress the concepts of teamwork and discipline. I saw the team listening, but yet it was interesting to see these energetic boys control themselves especially in the face of such a huge win. It would seem natural for any of them to start putting up shots outside of the confines of the play (everyone loves to score!), but the Warriors stuck to the plan from start to end.
I saw many great examples of these concepts during the game.
-Peter slid over when brother Christopher had the ball-handler trapped in the corner. The added help lead to a blocked shot by Christopher.
-After his tenacious defense caused a turnover, Andrew immediately set up for the inbounds pass from teammate Steven who was already there waiting for the ref. As he dribbled the ball up court, Andrew called out the play and his teammates immediately moved to their proper places on the court.
-Griffin tossed an inbounds pass to Demetri K and proceeded to sprint up court, joining Niko, Dimitri M. and (another) Dimitri M. All five Warriors put on a passing clinic until Dimitri M made the shot.
-Following a nifty set of passes to set up a shot, John raced to a spot under the basket, boxed out his opponent and got the rebound.
These are just a few snapshots of how the team played. I intentionally cited examples of every player, because they played as a team and it did not seem right to leave any player out.
After this win, the Warriors stand at 7-1, with 1 game left in the regular season. The playoffs start on February 16-17 and continue and culminate on February 23-24.
In the post-game session, Coach Spiro and Coach Lou again talked about teamwork and discipline, especially as they head to the playoffs. It also goes beyond the playoffs though. These boys will be together for two more years of basketball. If these young men stick to the basic strategy, it should be a fun and successful two seasons.
I will be checking back with the team during the playoffs and report the results here. Hopefully, next season, I will again cover the Warriors, but as reigning champs!