Dalton youth girls basketball team has trick play go viral online


Playing in a youth basketball tournament at the Boys & Girls Club of the Berkshires last weekend, the Dalton Warriors 5th/6th-grade girls basketball team found itself trailing to the Boys & Girls Club team in the championship game.

With the energy rapidly draining as the girls played in their fourth game of the day, the players and coaches on the sidelines started brainstorming ideas.

Then, it hit assistant coach Jake Harte. What if four players on the court played possum, while the fifth took advantage of the confusion?

So, the team did just that. The rest is now viral.

Trailing 37-4 in the game, the Warriors executed the possum play out of a timeout. Four players hit the deck around the key, while Anna Doyle darted into the lane, and put a shot up off the backboard and into the net. The team and its fans on the sideline went wild.

#SCTop10 5/6 Warriors boost moral when almost 30 points behind. They took 2nd in the tournament this weekend. pic.twitter.com/1q2yQyE6aA

"It was amazing," Warriors coach Steve Wildrick said in a phone call with The Eagle on Thursday. "I was trying to video tape it myself, but when she made the shot my phone went up in the air. I stood up, so it didn't work for me doing it.

"But it was amazing to see. We got second place, but we probably lost by 30 to the Club. But they were so excited and so happy after, they didn't care what the score was."

The video made the rounds on Twitter after a parent uploaded the clip. The Twitter account @Overtime posted the video, and it has been viewed over 47,000 times. USA Today also posted a story about the video, which has garnered over 2,000 shares."It was very exciting," Wildrick said of the reaction to seeing the play go viral. "A lot of the parents were texting each other, making sure it was okay to say where it was, what the grade level was — there were some privacy concerns."

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For Wildrick, the spotlight on the play was not expected.

"We went with this possum play that [coach] Jake [Harte] drew up in a timeout," Wildrick said. "The thought was just to try and get them back into the game, get some energy. I didn't really think that she'd make the shot like that."

In truth, the shot was supposed to come from much closer in. Regardless, the ball went in the hoop, and the team got the reaction it wanted.

"It wasn't done as a last-second play or something that we practiced, ever, it was just something to get the girls more interested in the game and not necessarily the score, but to have fun," Wildrick said, "and it worked."

Wildrick said that he and coach Harte had a chat with the girls at practice this week. The team was still buzzing from the play, and after about 15 minutes of talking about how their routine had gone viral, the players started practicing. Wildrick did notice something about the practice, though.

"The energy level was at an all-time high, and the noise was at an all-time high," Wildrick said.

The play itself was a product of Harte's imagination. Harte is the son of Hoosac Valley boys basketball coach Dave Harte Jr. — Wildrick joked that coaching was in Jake's "DNA" — and volunteers his time with the Dalton youth program. Jake Harte drew the play up in the timeout that preceded the basket.

"He never ceases to amaze me," Wildrick said of Harte. "I always forget when I work with him, that he's only a senior in high school. He's mature beyond his years, he never quits coaching with the girls.

"He's out here, pushing them, telling them what to be doing and when."

The Warriors are back in action on Saturday with a game against Lenox, then the team will play in a CYC tournament the following weekend.

Geoff Smith can be reached at gsmith@berkshireeagle.com, @GSmith_Eagle on Twitter and 413-496-6254.


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