Middle school basketball

Raye-zor sharp: Son tosses in 23 points to beat father's team

Rayes go head-to-head — sort of — on basketball court
By Mark Haskell | Dec 11, 2012
Photo by: Mark Haskell With his father, Chris, far right, and an Oceanside player watching, Camden-Rockport Middle School's Nate Raye concentrates on a free throw during a Busline League boys eighth-grade basketball game Dec. 8 in Camden.

Camden — Watching his son pull down an offensive rebound and score on a putback in the third quarter of a Busline League middle school eighth-grade boys regular-season basketball game, one would think Oceanside White coach Chris Raye would have been jubilant. Instead, he just shook his head and looked to the gymnasium rafters.

Chris Raye's son, Nate, poured in 23 points to help lead his team to victory. Unfortunately for Chris, his son does not don the blue and white of an Oceanside Mariner, but the red and white of a Camden-Rockport Middle School Schooner.

To put it bluntly, Nate torched his father's team as the Schooners rolled to a 57-44 win Dec. 8 in Camden.

"It was the biggest game of the year for me," said the 13-year-old Nate.

Nate was raised in Rockland but has played in both Rockland and Camden peewee hoop leagues through the years, while he began attending CRMS last year.

Since Chris took the job as the Oceanside White coach, the father and son had Dec. 8 circled on their calendars.

Nate said he and his father had been taking about their anticipated matchup for weeks, "since the start of the season when he started coaching."

The night before the game both father and son took in high school basketball games. Chris attended the Oceanside boys basketball game against Winslow, while his son was a few miles away in Rockport watching the Camden Hills boys host Waterville.

Nate resisted the urge to go to the Oceanside game with his dad, when he might have fallen prey to staying up late or letting his father fill him up with junk food, hours before the following morning's 9 a.m. tipoff.

"I went to the Camden [Hills] high school game [Friday night]," Nate said. "I just got some good rest."

It showed.

Chris said his defensive game plan was to have his players run a box-and-one defense on his son, which has four of the five defensive players in a zone formation and the fifth primarily guarding Nate one-on-one. That way the one-on-one defender would have plenty of help against the Schooner.

Nate was held to only two points in the first quarter Saturday, but scored seven — including a 3-pointer — in the second, eight more in the third and six in the fourth.

In hindsight, how did the coach's/dad's defensively strategy go?

"Not as well as I'd planned," said Chris.

With Camden-Rockport in command late in the fourth quarter, a few Mariner players began the chess match of fouling in an effort to prevent the Schooners from allowing the clock run down.

Twice, Mariner players fouled Nate.

"Don't let him pad his stats!" shouted Chris, a good-natured way, from the sidelines.

Nate, who was thrilled to beat his father's team, was 4-of-6 from the line in the fourth quarter.

"I was really happy after the game to beat my dad," said Nate. "After all the years he's been coaching me."

It was an interesting few days for Chris, trying to teach his players to exploit his son's weaknesses.

In a word, Chris called the job "hard."

"It's been rough," he said. "I've missed a lot of games of his this year [because of] coaching. I love coaching, but there's a fine line between coaching and watching your kid play. Especially when you taught him the whole time, to not be able to be there and try to teach him on the sideline is tough."

"I love the kids I've got, but it's hard coaching against your son," Chris said.

Nate said his father, a 1989 Rockland District High School graduate, athletically does not like that he attends Camden schools, which historically have been Rockland's closest and toughest rival.

"He wants me to come to Oceanside [to play] pretty bad," said Nate, who resides in Camden with his mom, Jen Hixson.

While both hoped to pick up the win in the Dec. 8 middle school court game, Chris could only smile about his son's accomplishment after the game.

"I taught him well," he said.

Courier Publications Associate Sports Director Mark Haskell can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by email at mhaskell@courierpublicationsllc.com.

Comments (5)
Posted by: joseph Nelsen | Dec 14, 2012 19:21

Great story brother

Posted by: Reginald Walker | Dec 12, 2012 20:43

Great story!

Posted by: Jennifer L Hixon | Dec 12, 2012 11:45

Nate, I am so glad I got to see you play.  Grammie is so proud of you......


Posted by: Nathalie B Witham | Dec 11, 2012 19:20

Congratulations Chris!  I always knew your boy would have the potential that you had in High School!  You must be very proud of Nate just as we are proud to have you coaching Samuel:)

Posted by: Jennie Demmons | Dec 11, 2012 18:08

Chris, you have quite a "Champ" there!!  Congrats Nate!!  You did your Dad proud!!  (Red's wife)

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