The Eastfield Harvesters’ final practice before their Elite Eight opener was cancelled Wednesday due to communication problems with tournament organizers.
Eastfield, planned on practicing at 11 a.m. Wednesday at Sullivan County Community College and had set up the team’s day around that time. However, on the ride to practice, the team was informed that the practice time had been moved up to 10, so they would only have ten minutes to practice. By the time they got to the school, it was too late to get in any practice time.
Instead, coach Anthony Fletcher led the team on a tour of the Sullivan campus. He said the Harvesters needed to get their legs warm so they went to WalMart after leaving Sullivan.
The practice time wasn’t the first miscommunication the Harvesters have experienced since arriving in New York. On Tuesday night, Eastfield’s first-round opponent, Caldwell (N.C.) told Fletcher they didn’t have game tape to trade with the Harvesters, who had already provided their tape from the Feb. 25 game against Mountain View.
“They have our film from the Mountain View game,” Fletcher said. “We’re going to break that down and see what they’re going to try to take from us.”
The Harvesters were 14-for-42 from the field in the first half of that game. Fletcher said they would prepare to make shots over the zone, anticipating their opponent’s defensive strategy.
The Harvesters are adjusting to tight rims and will be playing with a smaller ball than they are used to, but their biggest adjustment is not knowing the players on the team they’re facing.
“In the morning, we’ll get there a couple hours before the game,” Fletcher said. “Once we see people with our own eyes it will be a lot better than just watching them on a video anyway.”
Off the court, on Wednesday night the team attended the Elite Eight banquet, where Fletcher was awarded the NJCAA Divison III District 3 Region V Coach of the Year award.
“It felt great to see coach win that award,” sophomore guard Oscar Lewis said. “He’s worked hard for us this year.”
They also took a tour of the museum where the banquet was held, which features many tributes to the Woodstock Festival. Some of the players even sat in a “peace van.”
“It was pretty cool to sit in that van,” Lewis said. “It reminded me of The Mystery Van off of Scooby Doo.”
The Harvesters play in Game 1 on Thursday at 11 a.m. and three more games will follow that to finish out the first round of play. Sophomore forward Andrew Maxie said he’s looking forward to attending the other teams’ games.
“We’ll probably have a vote and whoever wants to go can go,” Maxie said. “It would be stupid to just stay in your room. Plus, this is the first time we’ll get to see girls since we been up here.”
— Kevin Cushingberry Jr.