The sound of a folder slapping a desk echoed through the classroom as the Mustang Basketball Team was in their meeting. It had been six days since the last tournament, and the next tournament was going to begin the next day. The team had spent all week practicing hard to improve their odds of winning in the tournament. However, Coach Riley still did not inform the team about the importance of winning one of the next two tournaments. The fact that the team must win one of the tournaments to keep the team alive.
The players all watched as Coach Riley opened the folder and went through the information he had put in it.
“Experts we have encountered so far: The Fletcher Triplets, Han Lao, Robin Oliver, Giles Canton, and Trent Tate. So far, we’ve only been able to beat two of them. The team of Giles Canton, known as High-Rise, and Trent Tate, known as Dilly-Dally. Can somebody tell me why we’ve only been able to beat them?” Coach asked. Kory raised his hand.
“We were unprepared, inexperienced, and woefully outmatched,” Kory stated.
“I disagree on the outmatched point. The only one’s that can be considered more powerful than us would be the triplets,” Russ countered.
“I think we could’ve beaten Macbeth and Robin had we known more about their team. We aren’t just facing the Experts, but we’re going up against their teams as well. The game against High-Rise and Trent proved that because their team gave us a good fight. People like Quinn, Ron, and Conner are ones that we have to look out for,” Coach added in.
“Well, who will be in this next tournament?” Daryll asked. Russ stood up and walked to the front of the class with his own folder in his hands. He opened it and began reading.
“Pre-Season tournament number two. Teams involving the Experts include the Montville Mustangs, the Greenwich Guardians, and the Highland Horrors. Experts involved include Khris McCormick, known as Deadeye, Kory McCormick, known as The Genius, The Fletcher Triplets, Ahmed Reni, known as Crutches, and Edwin Colt, known as The Monster. Edwin Colt ranks the highest with a ranking of four out of the fifteen Experts,” As Russ announced the participants, every player listened closely. Lionel flinched when the triplets were mentioned.
The players all began to murmur with each other, except for Khris and Kory, wondering what type of players Crutches and The Monster were. The Mustangs were determined to beat another Expert duo, but Kory and Khris were noticeably quiet about the Horrors’s Experts. Khris almost showed concern, specifically for Kazu and Lory. Eventually, however, Michael slapped his table and stood up.
“It’s time for you to explain who Crutches and The Monster are, Kory,” Michael demanded. Every Mustang player nodded in agreement. Even Coach Riley nodded with the players. Kory sighed and stood up.
“Crutches was ranked at eleven, but he was one of the first to flourish. Before most of us hit our stride, he had touched the most of his potential. He is extremely good at ball-handling and fancy tricks. He actually got Trent to sprain his ankle in a game. His nickname came from the fact that Trent was using crutches for a while. The Monster, however, is hard to explain without using the term ‘Monster’,” Kory explained. Lionel stood.
“His profile in the folder you gave me mentions that he is the most dominant Expert. Does that mean that he’s ranked a little low?” Lionel asked.
“No, he’s more dominant than everybody on that list. The three above him are better at basketball itself, but none can physically dominate a game like The Monster. He’s big and strong. Not muscular like Robin, Tyrell, and Deon. He looks more out-of-shape than them. However, his body is extremely solid. He’s heavy and can be considered the physically strongest. He dominates everyone up against him completely. The best strategy I can say to use against him is to keep the ball out of his hands and don’t miss any shots. Kazu is coming off an injury and Lory needs to be ready for later games in the tournament, so we need to make the Horrors’s play without their centre. That’s why we’ve practiced the way we have,” Kory showed no signs of exaggeration. The Monster was clearly someone to be worried about.
“Alright, well we made our game-plan and worked hard this week. Meet here for the bus ride to the next tournament,” Coach announced before leaving the room. None of the players left the room immediately, sitting there silently. Each one remembered the past games that they had against each Expert.
Lionel remembered the game against the Guardians where he wasn’t seen as a threat. He felt disrespected and powerless. Lionel was determined never to feel that way again, and to do that, he spent the last week trying to perfect his quick bank-shot.
Lory remembered the game against the Sabres where he was completely outmatched by Robin. Lory’s explosive jumps were still weaker than Robin’s. Lory worked hard the last week to improve his technique at boxing people out so that he won’t have to exert so much energy to rebound.
Daryll remembered the game against the Sabres because he was completely embarrassed by Ron. Daryll had asked Kory to help him become more well-rounded as a point guard and spent the last week learning better ways to pass faster.
Kazu remembered the game against the Krakens where his height was completely useless. Kazu spent the last week perfecting his tip-in and blocking.
Russ remembered the game against the Sabres where he was completely tricked. Russ spent the last week training with Khris for better reactions against people with offensive talent.
Khris remembered the game against the Guardians where he was completely shut down. Khris spent the last week watching his teammates' growth and figuring out ways he could work with them.
Kory remembered the game against the Sabres where he could have made a difference. He spent the last week training Daryll and working on his cardio, trying to get back into form as fast as possible.
Michael remembered the game against the Guardians where he wasn’t able to turn the game around. Michael worked on improving his shooting so that he could be of more use on offence.
Every Mustang spent their time to improve as much as one could within a week. The practices were long and every player practiced individually in their free time. The loud silence in the room told each player that their teammates were just as determined as themselves. However, the silence was broken by the sound of a phone ringing. Kory quickly went into his bag and pulled out his phone, seeing who was calling.
“Crutches?” Kory had a confused tone in his voice. Everyone’s attention was suddenly on Kory as he answered the phone. “Hello?”
“Kory, what’s the name of the girl you’re bringing?” Crutches’s voice was smooth but showed a glimpse of the excitement he had.
“Girl? What girl?” Kory asked.
“Oh, there’s no girl? You could’ve made our match exciting. Now I’m just disappointed in you. Oh well, onto the reason I’m calling. My father has business over in your city and he’s staying the night in a hotel there. I wanted to go and check out your city tonight but I’ll need a ride to the tournament. Can I stay at your place and go to the tournament with you guys?” Crutches asked. Everyone in the room looked at each other.
“No,” Kory’s answer was quick and stern.
“Too bad, I’m already here and I’ve already talked to your mom. Your room looks nice by the way, I think I’ll be taking it for tonight. You’re fine with the couch, right? Of course you are,” Crutches was talking fast, to the annoyance of Kory who simply hung up the phone. Kory let out a huge sigh.
“Why’d you hang up?” Michael asked.
“He’s insufferable. He never listens, he assumes your answers, and he does whatever he wants. Not to mention he tries to attract every girl he can find,” Kory sounded annoyed. Khris laughed.
“He likes us, so let’s be nice,” Khris slapped Kory on his back as he spoke.
“Michael, you’re staying over tonight,” Kory demanded.
“Me? Um, alright?” Michael was hesitant but agreed.
One by one the students cleared out of the classroom. Michael told his father about the sleepover, to which his father agreed. Michael and the McCormicks soon headed to the McCormick home. Michael had a slightly uneasy feeling about the entire situation.
As soon as Kory opened the door, Crutches was standing there with a giant grin on his face.
“You brought a friend? You HAVE a friend? Of course you do, you’re the team captain, right? Of course you are!” Crutches were talking very fast with a smooth yet frantic voice. He immediately grabbed Michael’s hand and pulled him into the house, looking at him closely. “Small Forward, probably has a bad shot, but it seems he has a good bounce on him. A slasher?”
Michael was visibly confused, and then he noticed that Crutches was staring at Michael’s ankles.
“Those will be fun to break,” Crutched commented. Michael was slightly entertained by Crutches' erratic nature.
“You can try, but you will fail. After all, I’m the star of the team,” Michael responded. Crutches laughed.
“You? The star? Kory is the captain. Khris is one of the highest-scoring members of the Experts. You, you’re just a kid that is good at layups, and that’s just based on your body,” Crutches responded, the doubt clear in his voice.
Kory rolled his eyes and walked past as Michael and Crutches went back and forth. Khris stayed and was entertained by Michael trying to convince Crutches that he is the star of the team.
After a while, the confrontation calmed down. Crutches was busy watching television and resting after his long trip. Khris was sent by Kory to keep Crutches company. Eventually, though, Crutches fell asleep. Meanwhile, Kory and Michael were in the driveway where the McCormick’s basketball net was positioned. Kory held a basketball in his hands.
“Alright, I want you to get used to my passes. In the last two games, I’ve been working towards your play style, but now I need you to learn mine. You felt a bit of it last game when I gave you a pass you couldn’t score on, which I did specifically so you can pass the ball. I’ve been playing so that you guys can score, but I’d like you to be a player I can bounce off of sometimes,” Kory explained.
“Bounce off?” Michael was slightly confused.
“Remember what Ron and Robin did in their game against us? Ron passed it to Robin and Robin passed it to someone else in the air. People will eventually be able to block my passing routes, so having someone to bounce off of will be great so we can pass from different angles,” Kory explained further. Michael nodded his head and the two began to do some special drills together to work on the chemistry.
After around two hours of practice, Crutches came outside to watch, having woken up from his nap. A smirk was on his face while seeing Kory and Michael both out of breath.
“You two must’ve been working hard, it’s a shame you’ll both lose in the first round,” Crutches walked over and picked up the ball off the ground, dribbling it casually.
“First?” Kory looked over confused.
“Oh, right, I saw the schedule since it’s our school putting on the event. I wasn’t supposed to see it but you know that I’m good at sneaking past people. Your team is against ours in the very first game of the tournament,” Crutches turned his attention to Michael. “Twenty dollars says I outscore you. There will be a lot of college scouts at this game, so I’ll be in top form. After all, they’re the reason why I joined The Monster’s team.”
Crutches passed the ball to Michael and turned to go back in the house. He looked back for a second.
“I hope you give them a good showing as well,” Crutches turned and walked into the house.
Arc 2 begins with Crutches introducing himself to Michael. The tournament begins in the next episode. Will the Mustangs be prepared to face the Horrors in the first match? What type of person is The Monster? How will the Mustang players react to seeing the Triplets again? Find out on the next episode of The Mighty Mustangs!
Bio: Hi everybody! My name is TheMagnificentOne, but you can call me Mag. I am a film program graduate and want to try book writing instead of continuing scriptwriting. I usually write stories about sports, superheroes, or war. It's my dream to create comic books in the future, despite my inability to draw. I hope you all enjoy the stories I write and stay Magnificent everyone!