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With two minutes to go I called time out and told the kids to press full-court. Then I explained what that meant. I got that nod and solemn look from them.
Almost immediately Paul knocked down a frantic pass and put in a layup. And a minute later Faith swiped the ball cleanly and dribbled the length of the floor for a nice layup. Now we were losing 16-15.
In our games they keep time with a stopwatch at the scorer's table. "How much time?" I yelled to the scorer.
"Twenty seconds," he replied.
The Rockets had the ball in their back-court. Faith knocked it loose. Sean and a Rocket fell on it simultaneously. Jump ball. "Ten seconds," yelled the timer.
After the jump, the ball bounced from hand to face to chest to elbow. It caromed wildly, rolled across the floor, and ended up in Paul's hands. He drove headlong for the basket. Then he tumbled into a heap and the ball squirted out of bounds.
"That's it," said the timer. "No time left."
The kids gathered around Paul, who still lay on the floor. He was holding his knee and crying.
The referee was talking to him. I went out to see how he felt.
"There was a foul," the referee told me. "He was tripped. In the act of shooting. Two shots."