They say that in life, it all boils down to the “bottom line.” Competitive sports is no different, with “how many wins, how many losses, and how did you do?” being the frequently asked questions.
In this world of “just cut to the chase” – quite often, how you got there gets lost in the shuffle. Often though, just reading the “statistics” doesn't really tell you the whole story…
Coming in to last weekend's Metrowest Basketball game, Dedham (8-0) had to travel to nearby Westwood (3-5) for their away game. To many of us, this matchup appeared to be “just another game.” Dedham has averaged 52 points per game, while Westwood puts up an average of 39 points.
Coaches however, see things differently than the rest of us. They know that certain games can be huge for a team's confidence. Dedham's John Maida, has coached teams on both sides of this scenario, and realizes that “every team out there” wants to be the one that takes down that top seed.
Sometimes in sports, it's not all about your record, as much as it is about “bragging rights.” Last week in practice, the Metrowest boys worked on their fundamentals – passing, ball-handling, rebounding, and free-throws.
Walking in to the Westwood gym on Sunday, you just knew that these boys were pumped up for their chance to take a shot.
At the end of the first quarter, Dedham was ahead by a basket, 17-15. Not much changed from that point, and the score at halftime was 23-21, Dedham.
By the end of the third quarter, Dedham saw themselves “clinging” to that same 2-point lead, 33-31. Both Coaches knew, that the next 8 minutes, would make all the difference in the world. If Dedham missed a basket, and Westwood didn't, the game would be tied!
At the start of the fourth quarter, Coach John Maida called a huddle and told his 7th grade boys to “ be strong, just play your game…” The Westwood Coach employed a different approach. He had seen Liam Dorsey's 3-point shots, and Dylan Maida drive to the basket for layups. He witnessed Nick Loring's hustle and shooting, along with Brandon Ruiz's speed and steals. He saw Davin Sweeney, stand ready under the net, rebound and score. He must have told his team to just not let Dedham score.
From the start of the quarter, the Westwood team made Dedham “earn” every single point they got. Drive after drive, foul after foul, free-throw after free-throw, Dedham's lead grew. At the final buzzer, Dedham had put up 19 points to Westwood's 10, and had won the game 52-41.
Coach Maida knew his bench was strong, and plugged in the services of Mark Rella, David Logan, Corey Kilroy, Ty Scurry, and Ty Rowell to spot his starters and keep his team going. Dedham is now 9-0 and facing Ashland, Wellesley, and Barrington, RI, all of whom have the same desire that this good team from Westwood had – to beat the team that nobody else has been able to!