“The Section Grind”
It is on to the Section games and a part of the schedule known
to coaches as “The Grind”.
This is where the Section Champion is determined
after a full league schedule is played. Winning the Section Championship has always been very important in the Lancaster Lebanon League. It is so important that the League has always had a Section
Championship game if two teams are tied for the title.
There has been some high profile Section Championship
games in the past. In some area leagues, they simply name the teams Co-Champions
without a Championship Game but not here in the LL
What does it take to be a Section Champion? The most important quality of a Section Champion is the
consistency of their performance throughout the league schedule. A team can’t get too high after a great win or too low
after a tough loss. A great win is only worth one win and a bad loss is only worth
one loss. The ability to try to play to a teams’ potential each and every night is the challenge. And this year we are back to the not so popular “cross over games”.
These games match Section 1 vs Section 2 and Section
3 vs Section 4 teams. Each of these section teams will play 5 cross over
games that count on their league schedule. Be aware that the cross over schedules are somewhat unbalanced as some teams play 3 home games and others only 2 homes games. Add that to the home and away round robin in the Section and you
have 13 league games to determine not only the champion but the 2nd place teams that enter the LL League playoffs. The
only exception to the 13 game schedule and the cross over games is in Section 5.
Here there are no crossover games and only 10 league
So what happens in Section games?
Well the coaches and the players know each other well. For
the most part, the players have played against each other
since junior high and the coaches have coached against each
other for years. There are really no secrets to the players skill set
or the style of play that the coach uses. But the one thing that can really determine how the game goes is the mental approach or focus level that a team has for one particular game. And this begins with the attention to detail in the preparation.
Usually one team has that edge for that game and many
times that is what determines the outcome.
Also, many times the second time that teams play, the
coaches adjust their game plan from the first game.
This is especially true for the team that loses the
first game. It might be a simple strategy like doubling the other
team’s best player or to not extending the defense to
help eliminate driving lanes. Believe me, the coaches are looking to adjust to the
adjustments as we go through the Section schedule.
Good luck to all the teams as we
move into the important part of the schedule. It
looks like we will have some great games as the teams battle
for the Section Title and the league and district playoffs.
And look for that consistency that will be the key to
the performances of the 2019 Section Champions.