AE – Chapter 4

The park was an elevated stretch of land a ways off from the main part of the city. There was an overlooking cliff that was popular for couples as it had a nice view of the city’s skyline. The park itself was not very well lit except for the basketball court. Even though the park looked very nice there wasn’t very many people around except during the daytime. Dietrich pulled his car up into the parking lot and took a sip of his Gatorade. He was a little early and could see that there was already a few of the Claremont boys shooting around.

The Claremont/ Washington Rivalry had started as soon as Dietrich’s school opened its doors a little over ten years ago. Even though Washington High School was a “public” school, the school itself operated much like a private. Students were handpicked, interviewed, tested in, or a little of all the methods. Many of the students would go to the college of their choice, with many of the boys heading straight into officer training school. Claremont on the other hand was a full on private school. Since tuition was ridiculously expensive only high class families were able to afford the tuition; this brought a snobby atmosphere to the school. The Claremont students weren’t necessarily rejected from Washington, but rather had past generations deeply rooted into the school. However, even though these students from Claremont were from upper class, they just looked like a bunch of thugs. They were always talking trash on other school students. They always looked as if they were suffering through internal power struggles, but got together when met with opposition to “represent Claremont”.

As Dietrich stepped out of his car and felt slightly apprehensive. He never understood those rich kids at Claremont and didn’t like this “friendly” invitation to play basketball. In his experience Claremont just wasn’t that friendly. He spotted a row of headlines and a convoy of cars rushed into the parking lot. He could make out Derrick’s sports car as well as Grant, Hughes, and Joshua’s cars as well. They stepped out of their cars dressed in basketball clothes. Each seemed ready and pumped to play some basketball.

A Claremont kid called out from the basketball court, “Hey, you kids ready to play some ball? We didn’t think you girls would show up.” The boy emerged as the leader of the Claremont group. He had a shaved head, wore a white beater with black basketball pants standing at six feet tall. He had sharp features on his oval shaped face and spoke in a booming deep voice.

“You wanted to practice, we’re here to beat the shit out of you guys”, replied Grant.

Derrick whispered to Grant, “Hey some of these guys don’t look like they’re from Claremont”

Hughes replied in full confidence, “Whatever, we just need to beat them today and they probably won’t even show up for the tournament tomorrow.”

The two schools met at half court; the bright lights lit up the court as well as the faces. There was no one at the park, not even the usual dog walker. The scene played out like an old western flick, both sides waiting for the other to make a move.

Hughes broke the silence. “You guys called us out so we’ll get court and ball.”

The leader exploded, “You crazy? We’ve been practicing on this side, so we call court but you get ball.”

“Fine whatever Erik” replied Grant. Erik threw the ball he was holding over to Dietrich.

“Hey you guys have like eight people, you guys sitting? No subs, that’s unfair if you guys stick in subs” Grant said.

“Yo, chill man my cousins just wanted to come out and see us kill you guys” Erik gave an evil grin as he looked at Grant.

“We’re playing straight up to thirteen; twos are ones, threes are twos. Let’s run this!” Erik clapped his hands in excitement and he and his four ran back to the back of the court preparing them in zone defense.

Dietrich looked at Grant with some hesitation he didn’t like this feeling. “So the big guys name is Erik? I’m guessing he’s the leader of the wannabe gangsters.”

Grant replied to Dietrich, “Yeah, he’s Erik, his brother Terry is probably going to play Center. So Joshua, you’re going to have to stick with him, but watch out he plays dirty.”

Joshua nodded at Grant. Ever since Dietrich knew Joshua, he wasn’t one to speak many words; he never really had much of an opinion.

“Besides that we should be able to evenly match everyone by height, so we’ll be good. Make sure you just call the screens and don’t take unnecessary shots.”

Derrick gave Grant a wide grin. “Aye yay Captain, it’s not the first time we played basketball together.”

The five of them used to play basketball, but Dietrich grew disinterested in the game of basketball, and Derrick lacked the discipline for practicing and quit. A great divide rapidly emerged as Grant, Hughes, and Joshua decided to stick with basketball and Dietrich and Derrick dropped out.

Dietrich passed the ball over to Hughes and the game was on. The Washington team jogged down the court. Grant was running point guard as his teammates moved into position. Joshua was slightly taller than Erick’s brother Terry, but Terry clearly had the greater advantage in body mass. Hughes was always the outside shooter and was hanging outside of the three point line. Grant passed the ball over to Hughes. Hughes rushed past one of the Claremont defenders and spun around to find Grant cut across and swung him the ball.

Grant fainted left, and tore off to the right. He had an unblocked path straight to the basket. Just as Grant was jumping up to throw in an easy layup Erick’s brother, Terry dashed in front of Grant. Grant couldn’t stop in the middle of his drive and decided his momentum might be enough to get him near the basket where he could at least try to toss the ball into the basket. As he leapt into the air two monstrous hands came down on him slamming him into the ground. The ball went flying out of Grant’s hands, and he lay on the ground groaning.

“What the hell was that about!?”, yelled Derrick

“Sorry about that my brother is a football player before he’s a basketball player.” the look of satisfaction beamed on Erik’s face.

Derrick walked over to Grant and helped him up. He looked back at Erik, “Well I’m a person before I’m a monster.”

“Ha ha, pansy can’t take a hit? Take it from the top,” Erick kicked the ball over to Dietrich.

At the top of the key Dietrich held the ball as his teammates scrambled for position. Derrick signaled that Hughes was open on the outside, but was quickly guarded. Dietrich knew that if they were to have a shot at winning this game they’d have to take more shots than they would like from the outside. Luckily Hughes would be able to knock some threes down from back court, but outside shots wouldn’t be able to guarantee victory once the other team caught on. Dietrich passed the ball to Grant and he passed straight to Joshua. Joshua pushed backwards a few times to bump Terry back; he turned around and tossed the ball into the basket. Washington’s team exploded with celebration.

Erick yelled at his brother, “Don’t let him do that, keep your feet planted or push him forward if you have to!”

Terry took the ball from the top of the key. In the commotion he tried to throw the ball to his brother Erick, however he completely missed his brother lobbing the ball into Derrick’s hands. Derrick ran up to make a layup which resulted in one of the Claremont kids running in to try to swat the ball, but instead swatting his hand. “foul!”

The Claremont defender frowned and kicked the ball in Erick’s direction.

“Ball goes to you, don’t get to happy now,” Erick said, then pointed at one of the Clairmont kids to defend Dietrich as he switched to guard Derrick. Dietrich spotted Hughes in the left corner wide open from the three point line. Dietrich didn’t waste time as he passed the ball to Hughes. Hughes caught the ball and in one fluid motion, shot the ball; nothing but net.

Grant looked at Erick, “You kidding me man? This all you guys got?”

“Shut up you fag, hurry up.” Erick was noticeably angrier as he ran down down court.

“Dietrich let me be point this time, let’s switch it up a little,” Derrick said.

Dietrich passed Derrick the ball and the team ran down court. As Dietrich swung left Grant and Hughes swung right. The defenders tried to jumble their way toward their men. Joshua inched back toward the basket as he struggled with Terry’s body mass. Spotting an opening Derrick swung the ball towards Hughes as he spun around. His defender didn’t give him a chance to put up a shot. Reading his defenders moves, Hughes used his defender’s momentum to spin past him and ran towards the basket. He continued to run toward the basket however, Terry and Joshua were standing in his way. Being less reckless than Grant he decided to pass the ball over to Joshua. Joshua took the ball and tried to use his body mass to push Terry back, however Terry was ready for the tactic. Terry had sunk down using his body mass to push forward, Joshua was virtually trapped. He dished the ball out to Derrick but in the confusion the ball had landed in the hands of one of the Claremont players.

The Claremont player ran down with Erick to make an easy basket. In the next few possessions the Washington defense crumbled, this coupled with Claremont playing dirty shot Claremont forward. The score ran ten to five in favor for Claremont.

Another Claremont ball sunk through the basket and Dietrich looked at Joshua that had been taking the brute of the damage and shook his head. As the two passed Joshua whispered into Dietrich’s ear, “We either play just as dirty or we’re going to lose. I’m tired of this crap.”

Even though Joshua was taller and better built than Terry, it was hard for him to play aggressively. Terry had been capitalizing on this weakness with the use of his body mass. Dietrich needed a plan, but the only one that seemed plausible seemed to either set more screens, or attack from the outside. The only problem with setting screens was that they were at a disadvantage pound for pound. The other plan would be attacking from the outside, but the defenders were playing dirty. The only attribute that they had an advantage they had would be their speed. Terry was showing that he was tiring quickly after running up and down the court, and the majority of the Claremont boys were slowing down considerably.

Dietrich was once again playing point and dribbled down court. He passed over to Joshua on the inside, but getting slapped around by Terry he dished the ball out to Grant. Grant took the ball and drove in once more. However, this time Joshua tried to stop Grant from getting pummeled, he rushed into Terry sending him flying over to the other side. Grant made an easy basket. Terry in a blinded rage jumped up running after Joshua. He struggled to control his momentum and slipped to the left slamming into Grant. Grant and Terry went flying, tumbling down the side of the hill. Curse words flew left and right as everyone ran down the hill.

Dietrich ran down with Joshua at his side. Joshua looked extremely worried; Dietrich knew that he had probably felt responsible for what happened. As they ran down the hill someone from behind came and tripped Joshua sending him face first into the ground. Dietrich confused turned around to spot three Claremont kids. They were Erick’s cousins and friends that had stuck around even though they weren’t allowed to play. Dietrich continued to run but looked back to see if Joshua was okay. Joshua got up and turn around to face the three boys, it was almost like a giant facing three children. At the bottom of the slope Terry and Grant had untangled themselves and miraculously seemed unhurt. Joshua came running down with the three Claremont boys tailing him.

Tension ran high in the air. The Claremont boys outnumbered them eight to five. A fight was inevitable.