Pre Season Game 4th Quarter – Cougars 87 – Denver 58
“The Pioneers asked for time out after that basket,” the game announcer said.
“And they sure look like they need a breather, Nancy. The Cougars have been running them ragged tonight.”
“You’re right, Chad. I don’t know what Coach Calvin did but her team looks completely different from what we saw a couple of nights ago.”
“Whatever it was, it sure is working. Calvin has included most of her bench tonight and they’ve all contributed to this blowout.”
The buzzer sounded indicating the end of the time out.
“All right,” Pat told her players. “We’ve got this one in the bag so let’s not do anything stupid out there. I don’t need any of you getting injured in these last few minutes.” Surrounding their coach, Sherry, Stacy, Pete, Terry, and Jade all nodded their understanding. “Keep up the pressure but don’t challenge them too much in the key. They can’t make thirty points in less than two minutes so if they drive it to the basket, let them go.”
“Players on the court,” an official broke into the huddle.
“Let’s go,” Pat said slapping her hands together.
While her teammates ran to the end of the court where the Denver players were already standing, Sherry trotted to defend the Pioneer player inbounding the ball. She raised her arms to make the inbound pass difficult but didn’t press her defense too close and the ball was easily passed to another Denver player.
Pete loosely guarded the ball handler as she dribbled closer to the key, swiping at the ball when the player passed it off and barely getting a fingertip on it.
Seeing the ball take an errant path, Stacy charged for it.
Two Denver players also ran toward the loose ball.
Stacy saw that one of the Denver players had the advantage. Stretching her body out, she dove forward. Balling her right hand into a fist, she punched at the ball sending it flying toward mid-court.
Sherry ran for the ball, snatched it out of the air and started dribbling toward the Cougar basket. Unchallenged, she executed a perfect lay-up then watched the ball drop through the net.
The whistle blew. “Injury timeout,” the official called to the scorer’s table.
“Ah, dammit,” Pat muttered when Lizzie ran onto the court. She trotted after her.
Stacy was lying on the court grimacing in pain, her right hand wrapped around her left shoulder.
“What happened?” Lizzie asked gently probing the injured area.
“Landed wrong,” Stacy told the trainer.
“What happened to taking it easy?” Pat asked kneeling beside the injured player.
Pete was bent over at Stacy’s head, concern clearly written on her face. “It’s my fault, Coach. I should have just let that pass go.”
“Ow!” Stacy moaned as Lizzie examined her shoulder.
“Good news is it’s not dislocated,” Lizzie told them.
“What’s the bad?” Pat asked.
“I’ll let you know when I know. But you better plan for her to be unplayable for awhile.”
Stacy’s head dropped back onto the floor. “Shit.”
“Let’s get you up and into the locker room,” Lizzie told the perturbed player. “Try not to move that shoulder,” she added as she aided Stacy to her feet with Pete’s help.
“Nice hustle. You, too, Pete.”
Stacy gave her coach a half grin, half grimace. “Thanks.”
“Tough break, Coach, with Stacy being injured,” Nancy was interviewing Pat at the end of the court. “Any word on how serious it is?”
“We’re hoping it’s just a bruise,” Pat replied.
“Your team tonight was a much different team from your first game… what did you tell them in practice?”
Pat smiled nervously. “They practiced hard and that showed tonight.”
“But how did you motivate them to make such a dramatic turn-around?”
“I don’t have to do much more than remind them what it is we are trying to accomplish this year.”
Pat nodded glancing toward the end of the corridor where Sherry was waiting. “I hate to cut this short but I do need to get to the locker room.”
“Understandable, Coach. I’m sure you want to check on your injured player.”
“Congratulations on the win.”
“Thank you,” Pat said before trotting to the corridor. “I hate doing interviews,” she muttered when she reached Sherry. “Come on, let’s get into the locker room before anyone else wants to talk to us.”
Sherry laughed trotting after her the head coach.
Pat pushed open the locker room door. “What’s so funny?”
“Why do you get so nervous doing them?” Sherry asked brushing past her lover.
Pat closed the door before answering. “Because I’m afraid I’m going to say something stupid.”
“How’s Stacy?” someone called out interrupting their conversation.
“Good question,” Pat answered walking to the front of the room with Sherry. “I’m still waiting for Lizzie’s report.”
“Dang, bad luck,” Jade said.
“Let’s not get down on this yet,” Pat told the players, “it may be nothing more than a bad bruise.” She looked around the room. “But, dammit,” her tone grew more serious, “next time I tell you to take it easy, I mean take it easy! No diving after loose balls. Got it?”
“Got it, Coach,” came the shouted reply.
“Now on a positive note… you worked hard in practice and you played a damn good game tonight. You should be proud of yourselves.” Pat smiled when the players erupted in loud shouts of agreement. She held up her hands for quiet. “It’s been a long week.”
“You can say that again,” Wendy groaned.
“No practice tomorrow—” Pat was interrupted by even louder celebratory shouting. “All right, settle down,” she said after a few minutes. “No practice,” she continued when she was able, “but you better show up on Monday ready to work your butts off,” she told the team. “Okay, hit the showers and get out of here.”
“A little early in the season to be giving them days off, isn’t it?” Sherry asked. “This week was hard but do you really think it was that hard on them?”
Pat gazed at her assistant. “It was that hard for me,” she said quietly. “And I think it was even harder on you,” her voice almost a whisper. “I think we need the time.”
“I think we better go into your office,” Sherry said after a few moments.
Sherry smiled. “Because I want to kiss you.”
“Oh,” Pat murmured feeling a blush on her cheeks.
Lizzie was bent over the ice cooler in the training room. “X-rays didn’t show anything broken,” she said lifting a bag of ice out of the cooler.
“That’s good,” Sherry sighed. She was sitting on one of the tables watching Pat pace about the room.
“Sure is,” Kelley agreed standing beside the table where Stacy was stretched out.
“I’m afraid you’ll probably have a heck of bruise in the morning,” Lizzie told Stacy grabbing an Ace bandage off a shelf.
“Pat, will you please come sit down,” Sherry called across the room.
“Yeah, Coach,” Stacy said, “you’re making me dizzy.”
“Stacy is going to be fine, Coach,” Lizzie said. “Hold this,” she told Kelley pressing the ice to Stacy’s shoulder.
Stacy shivered. “That’s cold,” she protested.
“Be thankful you’re not at the ER with something worse,” Lizzie said. With Kelley holding the ice in place, she wrapped the Ace bandage around the bag and shoulder. “Coach, do you need me to give you a sedative or something?” she asked the still pacing woman.
“Do you have a tranquilizing gun handy?” Kelley asked the trainer.
Stacy laughed then immediately regretted it. “Ow, that hurts.”
“That’ll teach you to laugh at me,” Pat said walking toward the others.
“What is wrong with you?” Sherry asked when her lover jumped up on the table to sit beside her. “We’ve had other players injured. Why are you so upset this time?”
“Oh, I’m not upset about Stacy—”
“Gee, thanks,” the player grumbled.
“No, that’s not what I mean. Of course, I’m upset you’re hurt.”
“But?” Sherry asked.
“I’m just thinking… if Stacy can’t get back into the lineup by our next game and with Tonie already questionable, that’s going to leave us short in the post position.”
“Okay,” Sherry said. “What’s the big deal? We’ll just have to activate one of the reserves… Oh, damn,” she muttered.
Pat nodded. “Yeah.”
“Hey, am I missing something?” Stacy asked.
“Yes,” Pat, Sherry, and Kelley answered together.
Pat slipped off the table. “Take care of that shoulder this weekend,” she told Stacy patting her on the good shoulder. “Do you need a ride home?”
“I’ll take care of that,” Lizzie said. “I can pick her up in the morning, too.”
“Not necessary,” Pat told the trainer. “I gave the team tomorrow off.”
“After only the second game?” Lizzie asked in disbelief. “Wow, what got into you?”
Pat glared at the trainer. “You can say I had a weak moment,” she snarled.
Lizzie laughed. “You should have more of those.
“So, I’ve been told,” Pat said holding her hand out to Sherry. “Come on, let’s go do some coach talk in my office. You, too, Kelley. We’ll see you gals on Monday,” she told the trainer and player as she led the others out of the room.
“I did not see this coming,” Kelley said slouched down in a chair in front of Pat’s desk. “At least, not this early in the season.”
“My fault,” Pat said. “We should have signed another post player.”
“It’s nobody’s fault,” Sherry protested. “We didn’t have any other players that we wanted to sign. And we knew what we were getting into when we signed her.”
“But activating her with all the crap she’s been doing…” Kelley said. “I don’t know, Pat.”
“We may not have a choice,” the head coach replied.
“Aren’t we jumping the gun on this?” Sherry asked. “Stacy made be good to go next week… if she is, we don’t need to activate Jackson. And even if she isn’t, Tonie has been doing pretty good.”
“Tonie has been doing fine,” Pat said. “But she’s playing limited minutes. We already know this is her last year because of her legs. As much as I hate to say it, we can’t depend on her and Terry to carry the post position if Stacy is out for more than a few days. We need to be at full strength at post.”
“You could switch over,” Kelley told Pat.
“Ha. I haven’t played post since high school.”
“Come on, Pat,” Kelley countered, “you know you can about play just any position out there.”
“No,” Pat said emphatically. “I’ve taken on enough this year. It won’t be good for me, you, or the team to take on any more. If we have to activate Jackson, we’ll do it. We’ll just have to hope she’ll keep her nose clean and concentrate on the game.”
“And if she doesn’t?”
“Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that,” Pat told her assistant. “Luckily, we don’t have to make any decisions tonight… so let’s go home.”
“Okay,” Kelley said standing. “I’ll see you in the morning.”
“No,” Pat said. “Take the day off.”
“No coaching meeting either? Really?”
“Really,” Pat answered.
Kelley grinned. “Wow, a long weekend. Sounds great. I’ll see you Monday then,” she said skipping out of the office.
Sherry giggled at Kelley’s antics. “You made her weekend.”
Pat stood up then walked around her desk to stand in front of Sherry. “Let’s go home,” she said tugging her lover out of her chair, “and see if I can make yours.”
Sherry wrapped her arms around Pat. “Sweetie, you already have,” she whispered as she pressed her lips to her lover’s.
To Be Continued...
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