The first win of league play for the St. Augustine Kings may end up being the most exciting game of their whole season.
Senior Kings had the game of their lives Monday, Feb. 8 against the St. Dominic Huskies winning by the tiniest of margins at 81-80 .
“That could have gone either way,” said coach Adam Bowie excitedly after the game.
And he was right.
At the start of the second half, the Kings were down 36-37 with the Huskies pushing to increase that lead. For the next 10 minutes, the Kings fumbled their way through the quarter making hasty decisions and bad passes that affected their confidence.
“It started to implode a little bit and fall apart,” said Bowie.
To battle that, Bowie called a time out that helped slow the team down. As the third quarter ended, the frazzled Kings regrouped with Bowie guiding players “back to the basics” to improve their game.
It seemed to work. The Kings, with strong on-court leadership from Airon Balatbat and Nathan Padilla, managed to claw their way back up the score board minimizing the Huskies’ lead. Balatbat is in Grade 11 and Padilla is in Grade 10, says Bowie who is excited to see how their career will unfold.
With Padilla sinking three-pointers and Balatbat driving the lane no matter who was in front of him, the Kings slowly built up their points and, with one minute left in regulation the score sat at 77-78 for the visitors.
A time out was called with the Huskies in possession of the ball. When the play resumed, the Kings used their possessions cleverly to respond to to single basket of the Huskies with two of their own, the last coming six seconds from time. Huskies’ last ditch effort was not good and KIngs won 81-80.
The Queens had a tougher challenge and ended up losing 60-12.
Coach Katherine Bergum-York said of the 13 girls on the team, 11 are new. While this has created a tough season for the young team, Bergum-York was pleased with their efforts.
“They are learning a lot with every game this season, which is all I can ask for from such an inexperienced team,” she explained.
She said the biggest challenge is staying consistent when they make good plays.