Varsity Basketball’s Trip to Memphis

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Varsity Basketball’s Trip to Memphis

Noah Camras, Sports Editor

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A few weeks ago, the de Toledo Varsity Basketball team attended the 11th annual Cooper Invitational Basketball Tournament in Memphis. Although the team finished just 1-3 in tournament play, the trip was an unforgettable experience. From midnight games to three point contests to hypnosis, the fourteen teammates returned to Los Angeles a family, excited for the season to finally begin.

The Jaguars entered the tournament hungry, wanting to prove they were greater than their 13 seed labeled them. They faced a Magen David team who they had no prior scouting reports on. The Jags played sloppily, demonstrating tiredness from their early flight and lack of sleep. They fell to Magen David 71-50, and were placed in the Tier 2 bracket.

In 2015 and 2016, the Jaguars had also lost their tournament openers and were placed into Tier 2. The team was excited for a chance at history, trying to be the first team to ever win back to back to back championships at the Tier 2 level.

Game 2 was against Scheck Hillel, a team the Jaguars were well prepared to play against. They knew their gameplan, and were able to execute it for most of the game. However, the game went to overtime, and the referee took the game into his own hands, calling two technicals and an intentional foul on the Jags, costing them the game.

The Jaguars were officially eliminated from the tournament, but still had to play two more games. They easily could have given up on the final two “meaningless” games. However, the Jags did quite the opposite. The tournament scheduled the Jaguars to play a midnight game Saturday night. Although no one was excited to stay up and play this game, the Jaguars came out with energy and spirit, and played by far their most complete game of the tournament. They blew out the JEC Thunder, and secured that they would leave the tournament with at least one victory.

Game 4 was a rough game, a combination of a late night playing basketball and an early morning wake up. However, the team learned from this game, and became closer from it. The team came home excited for the regular season to begin.

Although the team had a great time on the court, the highlights of the tournament definitely came off the court. First, there were the three point contests. Senior Alec Esses was the representative for de Toledo, and he did not disappoint. He hit a tournament high 17 three pointers in the first round, and made another 13 in round 2. He sadly was eliminated in round 3, but he made his teammates very proud, and definitely impressed himself.

Another off the court highlight was the fun van rides to the games and back. The team piled into a van, and had time to bond as a team. The van rides combined with the ample time in the hotel helped make this team into a family.

However, the greatest highlight for (almost) everyone was the Friday night activity. What some players call the “best night of their lives,” I call a “restful sleep.” Let me explain.

On Friday night following services and dinner, the tournament brought a hypnotist to dazzle the crowd as the night activity. I remember sitting in my chair, 400 people from the tournament around me. I remember deeply breathing, hearing every word he said echo through my mind. I then remember the hypnotist telling me to try opening my eyes, but having them sealed closed. Then, I remember being on stage, and (apparently) making a fool of myself. I slightly remember what I did, but I have no idea how funny I was.

While hypnotised, one may be aware of what they are doing, but they may have no idea why they are doing it, and have no control of what they do. This is what happened to me. In what was the highlight of the trip for everyone, all I remember is zoning out, being glued to my chair, visiting the Western Wall, and waking up with my friends jumping on me.

Although the Jaguars did not come out of Memphis as successful as they wanted, they learned a lot from their experience, and are excited to start league play and hopefully win a Championship.