It was near tip-off and the rooting section for the Phoenix Country Day School boys basketball team was finding its seats and getting ready for another big game.
The group included three members of sophomore point guard Andrew Ekmark’s family – father Curtis, mother Meg and sister Courtney.
Andrew is a very accurate shooter for his age, and should be even more of a factor once he fills out a bit – he currently is about 6-feet-1 and around 130 pounds.
When you have the burning desire to succeed on the court, you will go down almost any path to improve your game.
Andrew has done so by playing AAU ball on a team coached by his father, the former girls coach at Phoenix St. Mary’s who led the Lady Knights to three straight big-school titles and two runner-up finishes.
The toughest competition Andrew faces might just come from his own house – Courtney was a star for Curtis at St. Mary’s for three seasons and earned a basketball scholarship to play for the prestigious program at the University of Connecticut.
Courtney is a senior this year, but is not playing for St. Mary’s. She is being home-schooled, and has found other ways to keep her game sharp . . . such as playing against Andrew.
On this particular night, she showed up wearing a protective boot on one of her ankles.
Did she sprain it in a pickup game or some such?
Well, not exactly.
“Playing against him,’’ Curtis said, pointing to Andrew warming up on the court.
He acknowledged that these one-on-one battles can be the most intense of any.
“They’re out there going at it . . . when they play, one of two things is going to happen . . . somebody’s going to get hurt, or there’s going to be a fight,’’ he said.
Courtney’s injury is not believed to be serious, by the way, and the boot only was precautionary.
It only goes to show that the Ekmarks are serious about their basketball.