Saturday, June 03, 2006

Designed by the intrepid Matt McInerney.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

46 days

... until I move back to Maine. Here's what's on my docket: finish novel rewrites, say goodbye to the kind people of Deerfield, ride my bike more regularly, prepare a summer reading list. Not a bad agenda.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

end game

Never before has this highlight writer been faced with a tougher assignment. How can words corral the drama which bucked and snarled last Tuesday? The Flyers brought their (nearly) spotless resumé to Auburn for a rematch with St. Dominic. During warm-ups (which featured blaring rhythms from the Rocky III soundtrack), Waynflete seemed uncharacteristically intimidated: several players mentioned how much bigger and stronger the Saints looked. Despite Coach Robinson’s insistence that the Saints hadn’t changed their lineup since December 22nd (the date of the first tilt), the Flyers were timid and scattered in the early going, allowing St. Dom’s to bully their way to a 10-2 lead. By the end of the first half, neither captain (Gretchen Koch nor Annie Hancock) had scored, and the Flyers had less than 10 points at the break for the first time all season. Junior Laura Fralich had been containing the Saints’ best player, and Karla Stockmeyer and Emily Norris chipped in early buckets, but otherwise, the Flyers were grounded.

Nonetheless, conversation during halftime was light, and Waynflete started to strategize. They’d been getting hit by a lot of pesky pressure at midcourt, but post players Hancock and Norris were getting open. What the Flyers needed to do was turn up the defensive heat, force turnovers, and get the ball downcourt to players cutting to the hoop. It took a few minutes to implement this plan (in fact, Waynflete faced a 9-point deficit with 10 minutes to go) but in the last 2 minutes of the 3rd quarter, Koch looked like Joan of Arc storming the gates of St-Loup. She got angry—as did Hancock—and the two captains took over.

Heading into the 4th, Waynflete was still trailing by 5, but with Fralich and Nina Russem’s tough defense, the Saints were starting to show signs of panic. Karla Stockmeyer played heroically before fouling out midway through the quarter. Whenever Karla or Annie Cutler or Fralich or Russem or Lauren Hadiaris forced a turnover (which was often), they spotted Hancock downcourt, and Annie didn’t hesitate; she went right to the rim. She finessed two essential layups (Russem hit a third) and with less than a minute left, the Flyers were down by only 1 point. This time, Hancock got the feed down low and was hammered by a Dom’s defender, sending her to the line.

The fact that Annie hadn’t hit a freethrow all game—and she’d taken six of them—didn’t faze her. She calmly received the ball from the ref, toed the line, and drained them both. The Saints had plenty of time to respond, but the Flyers struck again, forcing yet another turnover. The ball made its way into Koch’s hands, and she lowered her shoulder and headed to the basket. The shot was good, and she was fouled on the play. She hit the clincher, of course, and the Flyers went on to a 29-25 victory.

After the game, uber fan Susan Koch asked Coach Robinson what he’d said to the girls when he called timeout in the waning minutes. He responded by saying he loved the team and he knew they could win. Such was the script all season.

The mighty Flyers--the j.v. girls basketball team of Waynflete School--finished the season 8-1.

Thursday, January 27, 2005


On Friday, the Flyers were hoping to bounce back from the stunning loss they’d suffered against Traip the previous week, and bounce back they did.

Annie Hancock and Karla Stockmeyer stormed into the gym just before warm-ups, announcing they were cold from the sledding they’d been doing for much of the afternoon, and while coach Robinson was initially worried two of his star players would be tired for the game, he then remembered who he was dealing with. Both of these players are rarely substituted, and neither of them ever show any signs of fatigue. Sure enough, when the game started (color had finally returned to Karla’s fingers) the Flyers were En Fuego. Gunslinger Koch poured in a quick six points (she would go on to score 14, a season high) and by the end of the half, Waynflete had kept the Seagulls from scoring a single basket (they’d hit two free-throws). Laura Fralich attacked the basket with brilliance and courage, and Emily Franklin—as she often does—used the backboard like it owed her money.

Early in the third quarter, all five starters had scored, so Waynflete adopted a new offense: get either newcomer Virginia Drake (’05) or stalwart one-game veteran Page Nichols (’06) the ball, let them shoot at will. Both Nichols and Drake held determined expressions and peppered the rim with a pulchritudinous array of misfires. Those of us on the Waynflete bench were thinking: these are the types of players who fit right in to our strategy. These are warriors, plain and simple—these are j.v. marvels, mighty practitioners of the craft of effort. Both players are welcome back anytime.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

UNDEFEATED! (had I not called timeout)

The j.v. girls’ hoop team took a detour on the road to the Promised Land when Traip visited Spring Street on Friday. The Rangers countered Waynflete’s aggressive style with relentless rebounding, patient and steadfast defense, and mercurial full-court pressure. The Flyers were up to the challenge, though: Annie Hancock led all scorers, owning the post; Gretchen Koch’s shot was as merciless as ever; wonderkind Emily Norris played a smart, heads-up transition game; Laura Fralich knew exactly how to slice through Traip’s zone (and she shot 100% from the line); and Karla Stockmeyer was a defensive explosion (in fact, at one point in the second half she was so unconscious with defensive talent she asked Coach Robinson why the girl she was guarding was completely removed from every play). Page Nichols hit a clutch shot in the first half and never looked out of place (we hope she continues playing with us); 8th-graders Annie Cutler and Nina Russem fit right into our offensive and defensive schemes.

Clearly, it was the best game the Flyers played all season. The full-court press was clicking, forcing double-digit turnovers. Every ball was hard-faught. Waynflete struggled on the boards, but scored often enough that it didn’t seem to matter.

Unfortunately, paradise can only be appreciated when you realize it’s fleeting; just when it seemed Waynflete was going to run away with the game, disaster struck. The Rangers hit a breakaway layup to tie the game with 16 seconds left, and as Koch brought the ball up the court, Robinson tried to call a timeout. The referee didn’t hear him—he was yelling but the ref had her back to him—and when she finally heard his cries, it was just as Koch hit a beautifully-arced shot from the foul line. The ref waved off the basket, and gave Robinson his unnecessary, unwanted timeout with three seconds on the clock.

The team was stunned (Gretchen most of all). Even the 8th-graders were questioning Robinson and his graceless timing.

In an instant, a dream performance had turned into a nightmare. Like the seventh game of the 1986 World Series (coming just a day after the debacle of game six), overtime seemed predetermined. Waynflete put up a valiant fight, but Traip was energized by their good fortune, and ended up winning the game by five points, 35-30.

After the disheartening loss, the Flyers were struck by the following truths: 1. Traip is already worried about the rematch; 2. Robinson needs to take screaming lessons; 3. what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

transcendental run-and-gun

When the news that gunslinger Gretchen Koch needed to miss Saturday’s game against Greater Portland Christian, the Flyers didn’t panic. They recruited rookie Lily Hoffman and adopted an Emersonian attitude: “What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.”

Karla Stockmeyer took the reins with some trepidation, but after a few minutes, it was clear that the new-look Flyers would be just fine; Stockmeyer led the way with her head-spinning defense. Annie Hancock shrugged off the jeers of the opposing team’s fans (who outnumbered the ‘Flete faithful 3-1) and was as dominant as ever in the first quarter, scoring twice as many points as the entire Lions squad. Junior Laura Fralich capitalized on the diffuse GPCS zone by attacking the paint and posting a season-high 8 points. Whenever the Lions attempted to beat Waynflete’s press by throwing the ball downcourt, heroic Freshman Emily Norris was there to intercept. Eighth-grader Anisa Khadraoui chipped in four points, and fellow-middleschoolers Mariah Monks and Lauren Hadiaris offered essential defensive intensity. After a slow third quarter in which the Lions outscored Waynflete 10-8, the Flyers downshifted in the final frame and Stockmeyer put on a clinic. She shut down her opponents—holding them scoreless—while filling the hoop at will, hitting four of five shots and draining her only free throw. If an NBA player were to score at that rate (9 points in 8 minutes), he’d finish with 54 points. (If the Celtics call, Karla, make sure you finish the season with us before signing.)

Despite being held scoreless and racking up three quick fouls, Lily Hoffman stole the show. Having never played basketball before, she was a divine portrait of lovely chaos. She reminded us all what it truly means to have j.v. blood in your veins.

The team looks forward to having Koch back in the lineup against NYA this Wednesday.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

green mah-cheen

Who'll stop the reign? Just hours before Christmas break, the mighty Flyers brought their flash-and-dash to the Flete Center home opener against St. Dominic. The Saints were one of the few teams who defeated Waynflete last year, so captains Annie Hancock and Gretchen Koch were ready to throw down the gauntlet. A new age had dawned, and a new team was primed to dominate the j.v. girls hoop world. It would be business as usual for the intrepid Flyers: full-court pressure, smashmouth defense, and a run-and-gun high-flying offensive attack.

Still recovering from exams, it took a while for the gears to click into place, but by the second quarter, Koch and Hancock started to show the home fans what all the buzz has been about. The Saints played a fierce man-to-man defense, but once Koch started attacking the lane, stopping on a dime and either dishing or pulling up for her patented quick-release gunslinging, St. Dominic found itself relinquishing a lead they'd never regain. Junior Laura Fralich provided some heart-stopping defense, stealing the ball and pressuring the Saints on the other end; Freshman Emily Norris balanced Hancock's attack on the opposite post. Free-agent eighth graders Anisa Khadraoui, Mariah Monks and Jenna Libby flew in and out of the game without letting the Flyers skip a beat—in fact, had it not been for Khadraoui's dramatic fieldgoal in the second quarter, Waynflete wouldn't have been leading at halftime.

The Flyers stepped onto the quart in the third quarter with unwavering confidence and some new apparel: green sweatbands adorning their legs, arms, and heads. Actually, only one head was adorned with the shamrock accessory: Karla Stockmeyer's. Accordingly, it was Stockmeyer who not only led the team in scoring in the third but also shut down the Saints' top scorer, not allowing her a single point in the second half. Coincidence? We don't think so.

Down the stretch, Hancock (with green armband) put on a show for her family in the stands: she came up big in the zone press, stealing the ball at midcourt several times and slashing to the basket. Koch, too, maintained a fearless intensity (despite jamming a finger on her shooting hand in the first half). The Saints pulled within three, but that was as close as they'd get.

The Flyers resume action against arch-rival NYA on January 6th.