April 4, 2022
Former Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski famously observed that “A basketball team is like the five fingers on your hand. If you can get them all together, you have a fist. That’s how I want you to play.”
Perhaps driven to avoid the same fate of the Blue Devils on Saturday evening, or the desire to prove that a four-fingered hand can also make a fist, Team Black came out punching this week.
Flaunting a two-week win streak, a footloose and fancy-free Team Red seemed content to rest on their laurels. Unfortunately, those laurels were located on their collective noses Monday evening, serving up a prime target for their Coach K-inspired opponents.
From the opening tip, Team Black captain Rusty Johnston sent a message that “enough was enough”. His team would not run out the season in a culture mired in defeat.
Hard on the boards defence, coupled with a “shoot first, ask questions later” offense, drew immediate comparisons to the famed gunfight at the O.K. Corral. The members of Team Black dutifully played the parts of brothers Earl, Morgan and Virgil, making quick work of Team Red who were resigned to the same fate as Billy Clanton: left face down in the dirt, covered in equal parts sweat and shame.
The final score of this week’s dust up, 4 games to 2 favouring Team Black, seemed less relevant than the questions arising after the final buzzer. With a month remaining in the 705 Spruce League, is it better to finish with a winning record only to fade, or rather grow into your team identity late and bloom when it matters most?
If the latter proves true, Team Red may rue the words of one Doc Halliday, who opined, “You’re no daisy. No daisy at all”. Unless they can shake things up quickly, their season could close with the same fate as one Johnny Ringo, right down to their Backwoods Boujee jerseys – (in)conveniently, Outlaw red in colour.
No reportable injuries occurred during the evening. Roster moves included a regular player returning to Team Black, with Team Red sending one player to their Ottawa affiliate and a second resting on regularly scheduled load management. Play in the 705 resumes April 11.
March 28, 2022
Birmingham Barons outfielder, and subsequent restauranteur, Michael Jordan, famously stated, “Talent wins games, teamwork and intelligence wins championships.”
Unfortunately none of the aforementioned assets were on display Monday night on the Spruce Glen hardcourt. Having accepted an inherent lack of athletic talent, or intelligence in general, coaches and observers alike were nonetheless frustrated at the overwhelming absence of team cohesion this deep into the 705 league’s season.
Regardless, players on both Team Red and Team Black looked the part (not to mention dapper) in their custom athletic wear supplied by the all female entrepreneurs, and local clothiers, of Backwoods Boujee.
On a positive note, after fighting spotty turnouts at various junctures throughout the season due to Covid and injuries, nearly all players were able to return to play after clearing league scoots protocols.
As for the game itself, little to no newsworthy events transpired. Varied attempts to work the ball inside, along with poor shot selection on the perimeter, proved to be intermittently successful at best. The final outcome, 4-0 games to zero, favoured Team Red (28-20, aggregate hoops penetrated).
Of note post-game, players and observers retired to Moose Delaneys, who graciously stayed open late for the 705 Spruce league. All in attendance agreed they were “local and loving it.”
Play in the 705 resumes next Monday, April 4.
March 21, 2022
In the run up to the playoffs in the 705 Spruce League, the stakes were reflective of the pace of play on Monday evening, March 21.
Initial free throws to pick teams was a lengthier than normal endeavour, however by 7:07 the action was under way.
From the opening tip at the Spruce Glen gymnasium, Team Black came out running and gunning, an aggressive offensive strategy that overwhelmed Team Red early on.
On their heels out of the gate, and down three baskets to one by 7:15, Team Red switched to a zone defence that temporarily stopped the bleeding.
Actual bleeding briefly stopped play at the 7:26 mark, but otherwise it was a rare injury-free evening.
Forced to the perimeter, shooting and strong ball rotation led to success in an injury-depleted lineup. Of particular significance was the last-minute addition of a player from the West Coast, filling in for a regular sidelined with a case of the scoots.
In the end, a last-second shot from downtown Magnetawan sealed the deal for Team Red, and turned the tides on a four-week losing skid.
The aggregate score across all games was 25-19. All players reported having had a good time, and trying their best.
On a closing note, Monday was jersey day and all in attendance received 705 Spruce jerseys from upstart local clothing designer Backwoods Boujee.
Action in the 705 is slated to resume next Monday, barring any further snow days.
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