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In the Paint

176 pages
For as long as he can remember, Matt has wanted to play basketball. Now, as he tries out for the team at his new middle school, he realizes that the easy days of elementary ball are over and that this is a much more serious game. Dealing with a hard-driving coach, competitive teammates and his own insecurities in a new school, Matt needs to call on all his skills, both on and off the court, to make the team and keep his head above water. When he is involved, albeit unwittingly, in tagging a store with racist graffiti, Matt finds himself in more trouble than he bargained for. And when he fights back against an aggressive teammate and is threatened with suspension from the team, he learns that it is not only game-time decisions that count, but also the choices made after the crowd has gone home and the gym is silent.
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Jeff Rud
Copyright © 2005 Jeff Rud
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system now known or to be invented, without permission in writing from the publisher.
National Library of Canada Cataloguing in Publication Data
Rud, Jeff, 1960-In the paint / Jeff Rud.
(South Side sports) ISBN 1-55143-337-0
I. Title. II. Series: Rud, Jeff, 1960- . South Side sports.
PS8635.U32I5 2005
Summary: Twelve-year-old Matt Hill struggles to make the basketball team in his new school while keeping out of trouble.
First published in the United States, 2005 Library of Congress Control Number: 2005922924
Orca Book Publishers gratefully acknowledges the support for its publishing programs provided by the following agencies: the Government of Canada through the Book Publishing Industry Development Program (BPIDP), the Canada Council for the Arts, and the British Columbia Arts Council.
Cover design: John van der Woude Cover photography: Getty Images
Orca Book Publishers Box 5626, Stn B. Victoria, BC Canada V8R 6S4
Orca Book Publishers PO Box 468 Custer, WA USA 98240-0468
Printed and bound in Canada
08 07 06 05 • 5 4 3 2 1
For Lana, Maggie and Matt, a terrific home team.
The author would like to thank the following people: Publisher Bob Tyrrell for believing in this project and agreeing to take a chance on it; and editor Andrew Wooldridge, for his skill and patience in helping a rookie through his first fiction effort.
Matthew Hillcut hard toward the basket, well aware that the taller boy defending him was lunging to keep up. But just two steps into his move, Matt planted his high-top sneakers firmly on the asphalt, quickly reversed direction to the wing and waited for the pass. There it was, a perfect delivery from his buddy, Jake Piancato. Matt gathered the basketball, and in one smooth motion, leapt and fired it toward the hoop from a dozen feet out. Swish. It was the game-winner and it was a thing of beauty. “All right!” Jake shouted, rushing over to deliver a high five. “That’s four games in a row. We rule tonight, dude.” The sweet sweat of a late-August evening was trickling from Matt’s wavy, brown hair, soaking his