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First Class Hawks Event Marred by Anti-Peachtree Hoops Bias, Part Two



Part One, if you missed it.

First were the 3-point shootout and hotshot competitions. Now, I am not going to steal Kris' thunder on his side of the participation, but I will happily say that I will be pleased if I never launch another NBA three again. Never has 23 feet or so seemed like 100 miles away.

However, I did do well in the hotshot competition, and was in third place as the last few contestants worked through the first round. As the contestants wound through, the scoreboard above Philips Arena kept updating, still with yours truly at 3rd place with 10 points. Then, inexplicably, I was off the board, and some 9 point contestants on the board instead. 

Asking around, nobody could determine why my score was scrubbed. Fortunately (or unfortunately), my 10 points would have finished 4th, just off the Top 3 needed to advance, but it was a sign of things to come for the Peachtree Hoops team.

Next were the lights out, spotlight introductions. Now while Kris and I were placed on the same team, which was cool, one of our provided teammates, both of which came from La Vision News, had never played basketball before. She was Nadya. Her colleague, Zulma Luna, had played and was acutally a better shot than I was on this day. Of course, a well conditioned kangaroo would have been a better shot than I was on this day.

The entire Hawks coaching staff, I believe, was on hand to high-five us, as was Kevin Willis, who apparently came aboard to laugh at the people that cover the game.

Then came the games. Our intrepid 4 person team took the floor---and we were immediately matched up with the player who was currently in first place (by a long shot) in the 3 point and Hotshot competitions, Darryn Moore from WSB. Darryn and Mark Arum magically didn't have their two other teammates, and with everybody else in play, Moore's team picked up two players to play....Hawks assistants Bob Bender and Nick Van Exel.

So, in the first round, we have the leader in the 3 point shooting and Hotshot Darryn Moore, Mark Arum, Bob Bender, and Nick Van Exel against a guy who is 3 months out of ACL surgery and can't cut or jump (that would be me), two ladies who were the combined height of Kevin Willis, and Kris Willis.

Let's just say there was a lot of pressure on Kris to produce. A lot.

Immediately, it was clear that the 2 ladies had a hard time staying with the weaving opposition. Moore hit a couple of threes by running side to side and popping around screens. Bender, meanwhile, was setting back picks and screens and Nicky blocked one of the ladies shots from the outside.

But we fought valiantly---moving Kris to the post and whipping passes into him for layups---though he learned the hard 'use the left hand' lesson as Bender trail blocked Kris as he went up with the off-glass hand. We moved Zelma Luna around picks to get her consistent 10 footers--which she knocked down with good accuracy. 

We hung around, getting to within a point thanks to Zelma and Kris's scoring. I switched out to Moore and battled--he didn't make another three after that. Still the combination of those four guys was too much for our ragtag bunch to overcome, and we lost by a single point.

Immediately, Darryn picked Kris and myself up---though maybe he should have considered Luna based on my inability to get any lift at all on my shots to take on the next team.

Before the next game, though, they decided to crank up the finals of the 3-point shootout and hotshot, both of which featured Moore and the 3 point shootout featured another teammate, potentially wearing out our guys while our opponent had no such players playing.

What kind of impact did it have? What else could be done to keep the boys of P-Hoops down? Stay tuned for the Final Part of the story.......