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King of the Court [Chapter 12]

by InuYosha


Copeland is a much bigger problem than the rest of the team realizes. Alex knows this for a fact when he finds Copeland speeding down the court faster than Alex can. Of course, Dwayne is able to slow the monster down, but Alex can tell how superior Copeland is compared to Marble Creek.

It's a strangely powerful balance. Copeland is the main, reckless attacker, and the huge player named Ethan is the main defense.

Even with Dwayne backing him up, amazingly taking a majority of the rebounds, Copeland is stronger than Alex in every way. Marble Creek isn't able to get a lead.

"We're getting closer," says Alex to Colin and Spencer, who he knows will definitely feel the most scared and nervous.

And even though they're getting closer, when Chris collapses on the ground, Alex can feel deadly iron claws clamping around the team.

. . .

Copeland has never, ever, in his life seen someone move so close to his speed. That guy with the crazy hair and a light glare can barely match Copeland's agility, but it's still scary nonetheless. Ethan said crazy hair's name is Alex.

Although both Alex and the short defender are slower than Copeland, they can slowly besiege his defenses until he finally breaks down. And Copeland fears that moment. The moment where he can't hold those monsters back any longer. The moment the dealy iron claws clamped around him finally slam together.

. . .

Alex can't stand it anymore. Too much pressure. Too much strain on his body. He can feel the muscles burning. He can feel every bit of strength left in him sapping away. I can't stop. I need to keep moving.

He charges down the court, tailing Copeland, determined to get the control of the basketball.

. . .

Copeland can barely stand. The pressure encloses around him. His mind strains from the exertion of handling so many opponents. Although the five players on Marble Creek's team are only five players, they're still powerful. Copeland's face burns red as Alex takes the ball from him. Copeland can feel every last bit of energy within him sapping away. Alex isn't stopping. I can keep going, too.

The really tall noodly guy on the other team gets up relucatantly, and the Referees don't seem to notice how strained he is. Copeland then tails Alex, determined to control the basketball one last time, before everything falls apart.

. . .

Everything falls apart when Alex suddenly passes to the other team's Ethan, thinking he's Chris (which wouldn't have been a good idea anyway, considering Chris' condition). He attempts to defend, but Ethan, who still has some strength left in him, easily maneuvers around Alex.

Alex knows he was naive to think that their team could improve their stamina enough to defeat Saint Helena. With five players.

Is this the end? Alex wonders.

. . .

Copeland knows it's the end when Alex starts falling behind drastically. Copeland knows that Saint Helena has control of the game. The question is, how is he going to use that control? Copeland feints right, sending Alex onto the ground, but Alex gets back up quickly.

He's resilient, thinks Copeland, How does he keep on trying?

. . .

Alex knows he will keep on trying until he collapses like Chris did. The game is barely a game anymore. It's just a group of children running back and forth on a court, throwing the ball through a hoop. In reality, that's all what basketball is, right?

. . .

Copeland knows what basketball is. It's a game of will. Whoever gives up first will surely lose. As long as you keep trying, you can't win. Ethan says otherwise. Ethan always tells Copeland that basketball is about skill and size. Copeland knows better.

He won't give up, not until he collapses on the ground, just like the noodle-man did.

. . .

Alex can barely continue.

. . .

Copeland can continue, but he's hindered by Dwayne

. . .

Dwayne can continue, but he's blocked out by Ethan.

. . .

Ethan can continue, but Copeland is determined to hog the ball to himself.

. . .

Both teams begin to huff and puff, getting closer and closer to the point where the whole house blows away.

It's almost silent when Spencer bursts forward. The crowd is silent for once. The only thing Spencer can hear is the beating of his heart matching the beat of the ball. Boom boom boom boom boom boom. But Spencer can feel his hand reach out, grabbing the ball and holding it close to his chest like he'll never let it go.

He can feel his body move forward steadily, at the same speed he had most of the game. He can feel himself taking steps, brushing past defenders, and finally landing the ball within the hoop.

Spencer, Alex had once told him, Your weapon is that you never give up.

And Spencer knows he will never give up, not until he's the King of the Court. So Spencer's chest swells up with pride as he tells himself: "I may not be the King of the Court, but at least I'm good enough to be the substitute."

And that would be enough, at least for today.


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Fri Jul 02, 2021 3:27 pm
Plume wrote a review...



Hey there! Plume here, with a review!!

Sorry I haven't been the most regular reviewer of your story! I'll try to do better in the future, haha. It's been a while, but I was really eager to dive back into your story.

I really liked this section!! I think you did a nice job of continuing the story throughout this chapter.

One of my favorite things you do in this would be the way you separate it across the chapter by using page breaks. I think that this pacing is part of what makes your story so engaging. BY doing that, it really allows the reader to pace themselves even if they are a fast reader and make the chapter flow easily. It breaks it up to ease the immersion in the story. I also think this tactic is especially crucial during the action scenes. It really encapsulates the vibe of like, someone's ears ringing or being clouded and then tuning in/getting sharper for a second before going out again. It really serves to actually show the action in a really great way, because action in stories needs to be short and sweet and very paced out. It's like giving readers a frame by frame but keeping those frames super short. It's just a very cool effect that your writing has, and I think it really helps to sell the story. Nice work!

I also liked your metaphor of the iron claws and how you used it for both sides of the game. I think that showing that was super powerful, as it let me envision just how much pressure both teams feel. Speaking of which, I think your decision to make some of this from Copeland's perspective was very unique, but I think it worked. It was cool to see Alex from a POV other than his teammates, because I think Copeland really regards him as a threat on the court. I think you used this POV really well to solidify that aspect of Alex's character. I feel like a lot of people tend to forget than an important aspect of indirect characterization is their impacts on others, but you did a great job!

One thing I wondered about was the fact that the game is still going on in this chapter. I feel like it's been stretched out a lot, and I was really expecting it to end in this one. We still don't seem to have a clear buzzer to the end of the game. I feel like stretching it out diminishes it in excitement and also gives us a bit of a false climax. I think you're putting too much pressure on this one game, especially since your story isn't even over yet. This should still be a big event, but I don't think it should necessarily be a three-chapters-long big event.

Specifics

Alex knows this for a fact when he finds Copeland speeding down the court faster than Alex can.


I thought that it was a little weird to use Alex twice in this sentence; I think just using "he" should suffice. To me, using the name twice kind of clogs up the sentence.

Overall: really nice work! Your pacing was great, and it really helped to build the action. I think this chapter was really awesome, and it was a nice place for me to jump back into the story solely because of how engaging it is. I promise I'll read more soon. Until next time!!




InuYosha says...


Thanks for the review!



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Mon May 24, 2021 3:21 pm
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MailicedeNamedy wrote a review...



Hi Yoshikrab,

Mailice here with a short review! :D

Let's jump right through the basket into the story:

Copeland is a much bigger problem than the rest of the team realizes.


This point here I think relates more to the last chapters than here, but needs to be written here: If one reads the first few paragraphs, one realises that Copeland and the later other named character called Ethan (Why did you call him Ethan? Now I keep thinking of Ethan Winters from Resident Evil. :D) are the players on the opposing team. If you eventually get around to revising the story, I would replace the numbers introduced in the last chapters ( numbers 4 and 6, I think) with the names. Because it confused me here at the beginning who Copeland was and already went back to chapter 11 thinking I hadn't read that. :D

Marble Creek isn't able to get a lead.


I like the way your introduction builds up to that one sentence and you give the reader all the drama with that one sentence to also give a brief flashback to the last chapter.

Is this the end? Alex wonders.


You know I'm not so good at this kind of stuff. :D I think instead of the question mark a comma needs to be inserted here, because this sentence in italic is Alex's train of thought not a dialogue.

Alex knows he will keep on trying until he collapses like Chris did. The game is barely a game anymore. It's just a group of children running back and forth on a court, throwing the ball through a hoop. In reality, that's all what basketball is, right?


That's such a nihilistic basic attitude that you've described here, which I like very much. Trivialising the game is a great insertion that shows the reader how Alex is also slowly reaching his limits. One can see how he still had some hope at the beginning of the chapter and tried to give hope to his team members, but even he has to realise that it doesn't look like an exciting basketball game anymore.

And that would be enough, at least for today.


Ah. :D The ending came out of nowhere and put another smile on my face. Unfortunately, I also thought that the end came too quickly. I was so into reading that it didn't feel like you wanted to end here. It was like a roller coaster ride, where right after the first big loop the end was already in sight.

You added a very strong and excellent dynamic with this chapter. I like the way you insert the changes of perspective, so that one experiences the whole game from a different point of view.

The only criticism here is that sometimes this change happens too quickly; you use too little text to tell about one side and then switch back again. As a reader, you're just getting used to the change and then you're back to the old familiar character. You can definitely expand on that in some sections, be it just filler text or something.

With the point of criticism, I don't mean the short scene where sentence after sentence is changed, but the smaller sections. In this particular scene, I'm not so sure myself to what extent it's good to insert a change of perspective, because you can also show it well from Alex's point of view. He's thinking it and you could put it that way.

In general, as mentioned above, I would stretch out some passages a bit so that the end doesn't seem so sudden. I would continue with my idea from earlier, and offer that during the changes (for example with Copeland) you show a little bit what the audience thinks of the game. Are there any chants or shouts that the players hear on the field? This continues to be one of those points where I feel you don't dare add anything to break the momentum you are building.

You already have a good dynamic through your descriptions of the game, and I wouldn't say that breaking it with a section would take away all the tension. You also manage to build in trains of thought that create a kind of "time stop", which can also happen when you present brief glimpses of other things. For me it helps more to increase the tension and drama because you are trying to distract the reader from the game, but it only increases the reader's curiosity to read on. (I don't know if it was explained that well here.) Just think of it like all those shows on TV where someone wants to present the winner but the moderator doesn't say anything for so long to raise the tension = Only you add in those points around it so it doesn´t feel like hot air. :D

I like that we finally have names for the opposing team.Since I imagine your story feels a bit like a Shonen Manga, and the opposing teams get stronger with each new match, it's good to have a name for the opponents. After all, you're not supposed to just remember the faces of your enemies. :D

In summary, it was a great chapter. It had kept up with the tension from the last chapter, which I like, it was just a little short. Still, it had what you'd expect. :D

Have fun writing it!

Mailice.





Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.
— Thomas Edison