I was sitting at the Deerfield Windsor School basketball game vs. Terrell Academy on Jan. 21, and thought it was 1986 and I was back in Illinois watching my hometown high school boys varsity teams. Like Terrell Academy, they, too, had no business playing a team like Deerfield and should have been completely outclassed. But they weren’t, just as Terrell Academy wasn’t.
In 1986, my high school of fewer than 70 students in all four high school grades won second in Illinois by beating all the big schools. The tallest player was 6-2 and my cousin was 5-10. Both were all-staters. They pressed the entire game and made almost all of their free throws and out-rebounded much bigger players (some 6-10). It was a testament to the importance of free-throw shooting, being in tremendous athletic shape, and having a great coach — just like Terrell Academy and Deerfield.
Terrell Academy needs to be congratulated on the great game that they played for three quarters and for almost turning the tables on Deerfield. Deerfield had to play four games in five days and that certainly had an effect on them, but that doesn’t take away the great game that Terrell Academy played. Like my hometown team, Terrell was much smaller and did not have the depth that Deerfield had but they were very fast and handled the ball very well. They were all good shooters and they made their free throws. Anyone who knows basketball knows how important it is to have a bunch of players who can be counted on to make their free throws. That alone will win a lot of games for you. And another of the biggest things that allows a small team to compete is knowing how to get position and get those rebounds even against much bigger opponents
So, hats off to Terrell Academy. You played a great game against Deerfield and you have nothing to be ashamed about. Hopefully, the experience of playing Deerfield will help you down the road when you run into some other similar opponents. You have a great team and I really enjoyed watching you play. You had Deerfield a little worried during that game, I think, at least in the beginning.