Clerc Classic XXI at Fremont, California was a first time experience for almost all of us who went on the trip including the coaches with an exception to our team manager. We were given #7 seeds based on various reasons before we even got to California. It is safe to say that a lot of us have no idea what we are going into. But we went in fairly confident that we would do well especially since we played really well a day before against one of our districts, Hill County but at the same time we are not sure what it is like at the Clerc Tournament.
On Thursday, the first round of the tournament, we were scheduled to play #2 seed, Riverside at 1:30. We did not play our game at all. The team was out of sync, our shots did not go in, we could not run the ball the way we wanted to. It was a tough pill for us to swallow. This is when reality hits us, the Clerc tournament is a whole different playing field. With a loss to Riverside (17-34), we moved into the losing bracket where we had to play Fremont to get into 5/6th place.
On Friday, the second round, we played Fremont, another deaf school based in California. We knew they had some key players but did not have much depth like ours. We were able to play better than in the first round. We ran some plays, put in full court press to force them to rush against the shot clock to encourage turnover. We made more rebounds. We did better statistically than we did in the first round and beat Fremont (33-17). Later that day, Florida beat Alambama and we knew we would have to play them for 5th place.
On Saturday, the third round, we played Florida. We changed our game plan, we had to play smarter against those teams and sure enough we got them into foul trouble with the hope that we can turn the game around if we continue to stick to the game plan. However we found ourselves in foul trouble in the 3rd quarter and that did not give us enough time to catch up. We lost 10 points to them (35 - 45).
In the end, the girls learned several things from the Clerc Tournament. Clerc tournaments bring a whole different playing field, it was nothing like southwest classic, St.Andrew tournament or our very own SOCO classic tournament. At least they gained experience, and this will help them in the future no doubt. Secondly, there are several aspects to the games. Some games require us to play well, some games require us to play smarter, some games require us both in order to win.
The Clerc Tournament wasn’t all about games, but it also gave us all an opportunity to bond as teammates. We are nearly at the end of the season but yet we continue to learn more about each other and that is also always a fun part of being on the team as well. Amy and I look forward to taking this team again to the next Clerc Tournament and to see how we do this time around with little experience under all of our belts.
Andrea & Amy