Sneakers over heels

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Chapter 38

Cassandra who since the start of the season managed to win at every tip off, missed the ball today. I knew she’d lose the ball since her jump had been slightly off and so I stood ready behind the opponent center player. As she turned around with the ball in hand and did a power dribble I quickly swung my hand in front and smashed the ball away from her and straight into Rekha’s hand. Our girl swiftly caught it and without a moment’s delay skillfully dribbled past the sky rocket players and towards our side of the court.

There’s a screen in front and I quickly run past Rekha. She passed the ball my way and I snatch it. A block in front of me with no way of dribbling past, I take a step back and she takes a step in front. I side step to my left and the girl guessing it to be a fake moves to her right. I make use of her lack of concentration and dribble past from my left. Senora stand ready in the wing position just outside the three point line. Nora was waiting ready by the basket for a rebound. Two screens on either side of Senora. They must have figured I was going to pass to Senora.

Yeah right, like I’m going to play like they expect. Did they forget there’s other players besides our captain? Cassy was just in time behind me. I pass the ball to her and she pushes past the screen towards the basket without making a foul play. As she passed me I give her an eye signal to which she grins. As she is right under the basket, the captain of the opponents expertly gets through and is about to grab hold of the ball when as planned, Cassy passes the ball back to me through her lower right. I do a power pass to Senora who had taken Nora’s position under the basket. She takes a step back and does a beautiful layup scoring the first point for the Hawkettes.

Yes! Now let’s begin the final battle bitches.

Our rivals glare at us and click their tongues in annoyance while I could only smirk. They better take us seriously. We ain’t going down without a brawl. I run back down the court waiting for the next steal. The first two quarters of the game was a close tie with both schools. As the second quarter was coming to an end we had yet to steal the ball back from the opponent’s hands. Callice Brody, the power forward also known as Sky rockets ace was no easy opponent. She had us running all over the place. Most of my assists were stealing the ball from her and throwing it back to my team. Callice had the ball in hand right now and she was preparing to do a long throw to their captain and end the final second quarter by scoring and taking the lead.

I had been assisting far too much today and my legs were about to give away. They have never felt so tired and I felt disgusted that I was feeling so tired when it’s only half time. We were 27- 25 with 15 of those points from me. I had done my part and yet why do I feel like crap? No, I have to score more. Assist more.

I was about to run after Callice when my legs gave away and I almost fell face first to the floor. Thank heavens I managed to stop myself in time from getting a bloody nose. Senora stopped on her track and stared at me with worry. I’d been running almost the whole time in the first half and my legs were crying for a break.

I’m fine. I mouth to Senora and punch my left thigh to keep moving a few seconds longer. I keep pressing on Callice and she finally misses her throw. The ball falls in the hands of their point guard. She dribbles forth and was almost close to their captain who was in the perfect position for a three point shot. She had Cassy and Rekha screening her but I’m pretty sure she would still manage to score. The clock is ticking and there was only twenty minutes to snatch the ball and score if we were hoping to get the lead on to our side. My blood rushed and I felt an excitement I’d never felt before. My tiredness vanished and I momentarily forget my worn-out legs. I drove in full speed cutting across the court and I ran alongside the rivaling point guard who stepped back surprised. I block her from taking another step and she struggles to get past me. We’re all tired and so mistakes are bound to happen. I find an opening and steal the ball. I pass it to Kaera and she’s ready to shoot when she’s blocked. Without any delays she passes the ball back to me who was open with no screens.

Fuck!

Whom do I pass to? Senora? No, Callice is onto her. Cassy is too far behind.

“You can do it Judith!”

“Judy Shoot!”

I don’t know if it was just my teammates’ screaming at me or the entire audience. But the fire inside of me burnt even more. I was slightly afar from the three point line. But I felt I could pull it off. And so I arched my body in position, flicked my wrist back and then shot the ball. The ball swishes through the net without grazing the backboard or rim and soon after the buzzer goes off signalling the end of half time.

As we make our way to the bench I sigh in relief. I’ve never been so happy to sit on the bench as I am now. I desperately need a few minutes break and I’ll be back in shape. It wasn’t just me. Everyone were worn out. Unlike the other games where we usually take the bench in the court, this time Coach ushered us back to the locker room. As we enter I dump myself on an empty seat and wince in pain as I take off my shoes. Cassy drops down on the side bench and kept taking huge gulps of water.

Nora hands out a bottle of water and towel to me. I plop the towel on my face and lean my head back, wiggling my sore toes. There were blisters and the tips were red.

I zone out on whatever coach was preaching but then what she said next made my heart stop. I sit up straight and stare at her in disbelief.

“We’ll be subbing Drakeyer out and putting in Nora.”

“What!?” My scream made heads turn my way. How could she do this to me? After all I’ve done. After the beat upstate I’m in right now, how could she say something so heartless?

I didn’t have to speak any further. Someone else was fighting in my stead. Senora had seen me lose my balance yet she still stood on my side.

“We need Judith on the court Coach.” She says firmly. The coach didn’t back down.

“I know how important she is but winning the match is our priority. Just look at her. Drakeyer is at her limits. We cannot afford to lose this match because we let someone into the court well aware she can’t keep going.”

My heart dropped. I could feel my breath in gasps as I try to hold myself from bursting in tears. I’ve been trying so hard. Why can I not keep going? Is this really it? Am I really going to be subbed out?

My father’s face came to my mind. His efforts and the ignorant mocks of people, my trainings literally wearing me out, and most importantly a person I let go to continue playing basketball. The pain, frustration and agony since childhood.

No, this can’t stop here. I can’t stop here. I have to keep going. I pledged to senora I’ll take her to the victory stage. I swore to Tori I’ll win in her stead.

The girls didn’t know what to do nor say. The time was ticking and a decision had to be made. Nora stood in the sides reluctant to do any warm-ups. Cassy and Tori were trying to convince Coach who was being a pain with her final decision.

“I can’t run any fast anymore.” I raise my voice and everyone turns to me. I clench my fists tight so the pain in my palms would make me go forth.

“It feels as if my arms and legs are gonna freaking fall off. I’m so tired I just want to lie down somewhere.” I stop to catch my breath for a second. “My shorts and t-shirt is soaking with sweat and I just want to rip it off and throw it away.”

“Judith,” Senora starts.

“But!” I get to my feet and take slow strides to where coach is standing. Everyone stops whatever they’re doing and gives me their fullest attention.

“But more than anything,” I stop in front of her and look up to her face, “I want to keep playing this game.” I look coach straight in the eye. “Let me play until the end coach.”

I’m not backing down!

We stay silent a whole minute. It felt like forever. Coach never blinked and I too kept holding her gaze firmly. And then she sighs aloud.

“Wrap you lower legs and ankles tight. The final half if going to be a battle.” With that she turns away as if she’s unwilling to see me fall from the pedestal I’ve been sitting high on since the start of the league.

Nora pushes me down to the bench and gets started with the bandages to tighten my lower leg muscles to help me keep going. Senora starts giving out orders on how to play the next half of the game. I listen to her very attentively. Everyone seems to have pumped up and ready to kick ass.

“We better step-up on our game. We’ve been attacking our opponents. Now we should go on defense. We’ve been going on offense and that is why we’re beat up tired. Let’s focus all our moves on our defense.” Senora states and she further keeps giving instructions. And then she claps her hands loud and sharp.

“Let’s go girls!”

As we make way to the bench, I let my eyes pass to the crowd for a second and find the familiar chestnut brown hair looking my way. Ava doesn’t remove her worried eyes off of me. I can literally understand what she’s trying to telepathically say to me. I smile at her with a firm nod and before I could concentrate back on my team my eyes linger on a pair of olive green eyes for a whole second. There was a look of warmth I had started to miss and a sense of worry in his eyes as he gazes at me with pain. I pry my eyes away from him and turn my focus to the game.

The buzzer goes off and we enter the court for the second half of the match. The ball is given to Senora as it’s my teams ball and she’s by the side-lines on standby. As the whistle is blown she passes the ball to the point guard, aka me. I grab a hold of it and the game begins.

The second half was no easier than the first. Rekha and Cassy strengthened the defense and so it was easier to get in some baskets. Not that the opponents lay low. They got in a couple of shots as well. We were leading by a one digit difference which was starting to get difficult to defend. Sky rockets truly were a strong team.

As the clock was ticking away, the tension rose. Both teams started screaming orders. The coaches screamed at us to keep pressing. Natasha, a player from the sky rockets who had been subbed in for the second half, stole the ball from Senora and made a three point shot. Now we were losing by two points.

Fuck!

“Time-out!” the referee calls out. I turn around and find its Coach Harlot who had asked for the time out. We make haste towards her and I find her sour expression funny.

“Girls, why are we letting them win? What happened to the defence? You girls need to step up your game. You didn’t come this far just to hand over the game to them in a silver plate. So get out there and show them what you Hawkettes are made of!”

Wow. Since when has Coach been so good with words?

“Let’s do this girls. We’re the hawkettes!” I just had to yell out without keeping my big mouth shut. Everyone stares at me in surprise at my outburst. And then they all grin wide.

“YEAH!”

The announcers were screaming into their microphones keeping the audience up to date. The TV crew scrambled left and right trying to get perfect shots of the players. Many a times I had the camera facing me and I was this close to throwing my shoe at it out of annoyance.

The squeaking of my shoes on the hard polished floor, Sweat dripping the sides of my face and back. It made me feel alive. The excitement was real. I hold back my grin as I focus on the game in hand.

The ball is passed to me and I bring it down the floor. As I dribble past the co-captain of the Sky rockets, the rivaling point guard tries to steal the ball. I throw it behind my back and catch it perfectly with my other hand and dribble past her as she loses her footing and crashes down. When closer to the basket I pass the ball to Cassy who was open for receiving. She grabs the ball and without a second to lose jumps high with an opposing defender trying to block her move. With ease she slams the ball home and the ball drops on the floor with a bam! That’s right; Cassy just did a fucking dunk. The crowd goes wild as she slaps a high-five almost throwing me off my feet. I look at the timer and there’s 50 seconds left in the game.

The ball is on the other side of the court but not for long. I reach out to it and steal with ease as I dribble it back to where my teammates were waiting. A screen is set in front of me and I lose the ball, which is received by the center player of the sky rockets. She is soon fouled by Nora and misses the ball. Nora is asked to step out of the court and she joins the bench

Fuck!

The opposing Center steps up for her free throw. She shoots and scores her first basket. But misses the second. I cheer and dance from the inside as the game resumes with both teams chasing after the ball. There’s 20 seconds left and the clock wasn’t stopping.

The floor is cleared as my girls screen the rivals and I’m given space to do my thing. I stand in line outside the three point line and raise my hand to make a shot when someone hits me hard from the back. The air leaves my lungs as I fall to the ground. Looking up I find the cold stares of the center rival bitch. She glared at me like I was some vermin in her path. I get back to my feet as I hear the cussing and yells from one side of the audience. I look up and find James trying to hold back an enraged Ava who was openly insulting the girl who knocked me over. I turn my gaze to Travis and find him looking at me with worry. I lower my gaze but give a nod showing him I was fine. Nora and the rest of the girls on the bench stood up, ready to castrate the bitch but Coach keeps them in check. But I notice the fury in her eyes. The referee’s couldn’t actually tell if the blow was hard or not and looked at me for confirmation. I just wave weakly. It was no big deal. I was simply glad I was getting a free throw.

I stand in line with the ball in hand. I kiss it softly and holding my breath I let go of it. The ball swishes through the net and drops n perfectly. The crowd cheers and I grin like a maniac. I snort at the scowling center bitch as I get ready for the final play.

After a much difficult battle of securing the ball and passes, it comes back to me. I was in perfect position to make a three point and end this tedious game. The sky rockets had managed to get in more scores and we were on the losing end. But no. I had something else in mind.

I make a run to the basket as my girls block off anyone trying to stop me. They stared at me confused why I wasn’t shooting. I just give them a smile and keep going. Trust me girls.

I stand just below the basket, the ball in one hand standing in position for a layup. I find the opposing team staring in surprise that I was going to do a close range shot at such a crucial time. The clock was ticking. My teammates were frozen. The audience has gone silent. I jump with the ball in one hand,

But I don’t shoot.

I one hand toss the ball behind me.

To one person alone.

She whom I wanted to make the final basket in this season. She who had placed her trust on me and who was the first to have approved of me in this amazing team.

And she caught it perfectly.

Señora stood in perfect position to shoot the ball. While running towards the basket I had made eye contact with her, and she understood me well. Senora was quite taken aback though but her focus resumed. That’s when my teammates realize what’s happening and start yelling at Señora to win the game.

We were two scores short. If she makes this shot we’ll be a score in the lead and win this match.

Win this season

All counted on Señora.

The one who had been beside me starts running to where Señora was. I cut in and block. No way in hell am I going to allow anyone to ruin her moment. She flicks her wrist back, jumps and makes the shot.

The ball passes over heads. Some jump high to stop the ball but fail. The ball bangs on the backboard and then falls to the edge of the hoop, going in circles.

Please god. Please let it go in.

Please.

Swish.

The buzzer goes off.

The ball’s falling on the ground was so loud on the pin drop silent court, it was hurting my ears. I turn to look at the scoreboard but my view is blocked with a certain Auburn haired girl who throws her arms around me.

And then the cheers follow.

Señora had done it. She shot a three pointer.

We won.

Minnesota’s Hawkettes won.

Nora was slapping fists with a teammate while the other was yelling to herself. The rest of the teammates storm the court barging straight towards us in full speed. Some tackle Cassy as she tries to hug all of them at once. Tori is in tears as she makes way to where I am standing, her smiles so bright it was making me feel like crying.

“We did it captain.” I whisper to the girl squeezing the life out of me. “You made the last shot.”

It’s most definitely her sweat that’s drenching my top. Señora doesn’t cry. The coach was yelling so loud the entire courts screams were surpassed. Señora leans back and stares at me with a smile.

“I was so surprised when you were taking form for a layup. I thought you’d definitely mastered it. But then, I don’t know. I- I just felt,” she stops as she tries to compose herself. “Thank you. Thank you Judith Drakeyer.”

I turn to the crowd trying to spot familiar faces. My Dad wasn’t so hard to find. He was smiling down at me and I felt myself soar. I did it Dad. I won.

The boys team scream out our name and majority of the audience follow. I grin taking in all the noise and cheers. The spot various colleges, some hot shot ones who were best known for their sportive background. Some were nodding their heads in my girls direction and I just knew my girls would be just fine.

A blur of brown rushes towards me like a raging bull and she throws herself at me and we both fall back on the cold hard floor. Ava’s eyes and nose were running as she grinned at me widely.

“Goodness you’re a wreck. Don’t wipe your snot on me.” I tease her. She just continues laughing as she hugs me tight.

“You did it Judy. You fucking did it!”

I sure as hell did.

Senora helps me untangle myself from my crazy best friend and soon after we are congratulated by the board. We each receive our medals and then stand to pose for a photograph with our Sumer League trophy.

The game season ends with confetti pupping’s and hawkette t-shirts and banners thrown everywhere.

***

I sit on the bench to get a breather. The whole time after the closing ceremony had been overwhelming. The TV crew wouldn’t let me go and some colleges even walked up to me and asked if I was interested in joining their college once I am done with high school.

Like what the fuck!? I’m already getting recommendations?

After what seemed like forever I was able to quietly move away and have some peace and quietness. As I stare at the heavy medal with pride, I could feel the stares of someone. Looking around I try to find who it was that is trying to burn holes into me with their gaze when dad throws his arms around me.

“I’m proud of you kiddo. I knew you wouldn’t fail.” He says with pride and happiness.

“Thank you dad. For everything.” I hug him back basking in his warmth. As he lets me go to look down at my happy face I break out laughing at what was happening behind him.

Ava was having her own dance party. She was doing a funny victory dance as she wiggled her body in all directions. She threw her arms all around and even slapped a couple of people earning their uses and swearing’s. She of course didn’t give a shit and continued to display her fabulous hip dance.

But what she does next makes me pause my laughing.

Ava bumps into the unstable hoop which I had spoken of to Coach Harlot. She rubs her side with a scowl but then continues dancing as she calls out my name. And she hits the hoop with her butt and that’s when the loud screeching stops my heart.

No!

The basket starts falling forward.

“Ava!” I scream my loudest. The entire gymnasium stops and looks. The security officers make a run to stop the basket from smashing the girl. I force my tired legs to run to my best friend.

Faster!

Ava is rooted to the ground, frightened to move. Her face morphed in fear and shock. With much strength and force I reach Ava and push her aside and she’s thrown away with a yelp.

I had used up all my strength throughout the game. This was the final amount of power I could muster. My exhausted legs give away and I fall to the ground, the metal hoop falling on me crushing my legs underneath it.

The last thing I see is Ava’s terrified face and a pair of legs running towards me, his olive green eyes full of anguish as he calls out my name frantically and then, I black out.


A/N: Hello Everyone!!!! It's been super long since I last updated here on Inkitt (sorry about that)

This will be the final chapter I upload on Inkitt. To continue reading please do head over to kindle.

Do show some support and love by continuing to read my book.

Well then

Happy reading!

Lots of love,

XxStellaxX


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