by Tara Hebbar
On 25th February, 2022, the newly inaugurated Ascend Basketball Team played their first scrimmage or match, against the Bombay Scottish Boys team. The match, which started out in clear favor of Bombay Scottish, ended in a close and exciting finish. The final score was 37 – 34, with the Bombay Scottish team winning. However, the Ascend boys put up a fair fight and also painted a positive picture for what the future of the team was going to look like. The match consisted of 4 quarters, the first first three being 8 minutes long, and the last one being 10 minutes long. The time was stopped each time the ball was taken out, for free throws or to be inbounded. The game was officiated by Gopal Shelokar. Since it was a friendly scrimmage, the shot clock was eliminated, and the game was played on half-court rules, therefore involving clearing the ball, etc.
The players on the team were Arnav Gorantala, Ishaan Shetty, Shreyan Gorantala, Raghav Sharma, Dheer Jain, Abir Gupta, Arvid Bhatia and other players on the bench. Most of the game, they used man to man defense to guard the opposition, and used free-throws, and fouls effectively to collect points.
Since it was the first game, the Ascend team started off slow, getting a feel for the game, the court and each other. Basketball is a team sport, and one of the most important factors of the game is to be able to play with, assist and compliment your teammates. This game, however, was a one man show, with point guard, Arnav Gorantala, scoring 32 out of the 34 points made. Recognising the visible lack of experience the team had in the beginning of the game, he used his training and array of basketball skills to step up and give the team a fighting chance at victory. Ishaan Shetty, the center of the team saw Arnav take up this role, and stepped into his role as well, providing assist, getting rebounds, setting screens and getting the ball into the hands of the player with the open shot. Once this partnership got going, the rest of the players also adjusted to the game play, and began putting points on the scoreboard.
When asked about the chemistry of the team, being their first game, Arnav said, “I feel like there was a lot of individual play and we didn’t really gel together as a team, especially in the beginning. We could’ve communicated better on both the offensive and defensive end, but that didn’t happen, but it’s a learning process and we’re going to learn from this and start playing together as a team unit, and the more we practice we have, the better our chemistry will be “ He also felt like they could have improved in these ways, “We faced a lot of difficulty in adapting to the other teams play style, a lot of tactics that we used were not based in their game play and so this hurt us because they got a lot of easy opportunities, and so we need to work on not giving the opposition open and easy looks.”
Overall, this game was a great experience for the players to get a feel of a basketball game, but also develop the chemistry that they will require to win matches together. Although this match didn’t end in a victory, the impressive comeback and display of talent, hardwork and determination showed that there will be many victories in the future for this team.