Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Clemente vs. Schurz at the UC: It was thiiiiiis close

Even in the middle of 20,700 empty seats, an overtime game is, by definition, a thriller. I got to shoot a thriller Jan. 28 at the United Center, between Roberto Clemente and Schurz high schools — one that was watched by no more than 150 fortunate fans.

The Wildcats control the opening tip
Clemente's boys basketball team gets a game in the U.C. at the end of every January, and they always call me in for it, which is an annual joy for me. I love collecting my "Bulls Media Pass" badges, and I love the shots I get from this.

Good for three
Images like these are gorgeous in my eyes, because they're so unusual. It's obviously a basketball game, and that's obviously a massive arena...but where are the fans? They are hard to come by for a 2:30 p.m. tipoff of a regular-season high school game on a workday — and all the empty seats jump out.

The cavernous atmosphere means nothing to the kids. This is the game they are thinking about when the season begins. This is the court that Noah and Rose run on, and this is the air that Jordan and Pippen's jerseys hang in.

In company like that, who really needs anything more?

Commanding the offense

The entire game was as close as the momentary battle above. The ball sits on the rim, and, like a game edging close to overtime, it might go either way.

It went Clemente's way, 62-58 after an extra period. And after the game of the year, having turned a thriller into a victory, the Wildcats were thiiiiiiis close.