After struggling in their last four games, the Elma High School boys basketball team had some homework to do before suiting up against Aberdeen Saturday. The Eagles suffered losses to Hoquiam and Forks two weeks ago and lost to Raymond 57-45 on Jan. 23 after getting a close win over Tenino 53-45 on Jan. 21 so coach Marvin Prince ready to find a way to get Elma back on track. Prince told his players to go to a blog written by Alan Stein, a strength and conditioning coach who has worked with several NBA players, and read a piece called 44 traits of a great basketball player. The players were instructed to write down one of the traits they felt they exhibited and one trait they feel they need to work on in the future. Each player came with a slip of paper with sentences ranging from “Great players are mentally and physically tough,” to “Great players value every single possession,” written and then proceeded to play their best game in two weeks.
“They had to bring it to me tonight or they weren’t going to suit up,” Prince said. “They all showed up today with them because they knew it was business and they came out tonight understanding that it was business. It was great to see us bounce back like that.”
Elma led Aberdeen by three points after one quarter and led 41-40 after three quarters. In the final quarter the Bobcats shot almost twice as many free throws as Elma had points and won the game from the line 60-51.
“The game was decided at the free throw line and we didn’t get to shoot many free throws,” Prince said. “You take the free throws away it is a total different ball game.”
Elma shot 1-for-4 from the free throw line while Aberdeen shot 21-for-34.
While Elma wasn’t able to come away with the victory on Saturday, Prince said he was very proud of the way his team played and is excited to see if the Eagles can continue to play at the same level.
“Our kids were aggressive tonight,” Prince said. “I was so proud of our energy. We played very, very hard and we showed the way we are capable of playing tonight. They showed an awful lot of poise tonight. The energy that they brought to the floor, the confidence we had on the floor, that is what we saw early on in the year and that is what has disappeared here in the last two weeks. We need to play with that kind of urgency, that kind of zest.”