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Averie Habas

on 26 February 2016

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The main characters in the book are:

* Ben McBain - 11 year old student in Rockwell who is a gifted athlete in football, basketball, and baseball. He is a mature, respectful kid.

* Sam Brown - 6th grade student, friend of other main characters and athlete.

* Cooper Manley- called Coop for short, friend of other characters, and athlete.

*Lily Wyatt - Ben's best (girl) friend. Lily along with Ben, Sam, and Coop were the original members of what they called the Core Four.

* Shawn O'Brien - a new kid in town who became one of their friends after football season and then they became the Core Four plus one.

*Chase Braggs - a new student at Darby who plays basketball and will do anything to beat Ben.

The mood in the beginning of the book is excitement. The football season had just ended with a championship after Ben McCain threw a touchdown on the last play of the game. Next came excitement to start the basketball season because they had such a good season the previous year and they had a new post player on their team. Then there was disappointment after losing the scrimmage against Darby. There was a new player, Chase Braggs, on the Darby team who was very talented, but arrogant. The mood then turned to determination to be a better basketball player. Ben would practice basketball for hours. While practicing on an outside court, Sam, sprains his ankle. Ben is now upset. Ben's attitude changes towards the end of the book to gratefulness for his team. They worked hard to become a better team without a starting player. Lastly, the mood is forgiveness. Ben accepted Chase's apology for doing so much fighting throughout the story.
There were three main conflicts in the book.
1- Ben and Chase had a constant conflict between the two of them. Chase wanted to show Ben that he is better than him at basketball. Chase also tried to impress Lily and convince her that he is better than Ben.
2-After Ben decided he was not going to get along with Chase, Lily avoided Ben and caused a conflict between the two of them.
3-Ben had a conflict with himself. He wanted to be better than Chase and kept practicing for hours to beat Chase.
The setting of the book goes from the Rockwell Middle School to the Darby Middle School playing basketball in the gym. They are also at Ben's home, on McBain Court, and downtown.
Ben McBain and his friends, just finished football season two weeks earlier and now its already basketball season. They've only had a week of practice and are headed to a scrimmage against the Darby Bears, a rival school. The boys are in the 6th grade at Rockwell Middle School and they are confident they will have a good season. Ben is suppose to be the best point guard in the league. Ben's friend Lily warns him that Darby has a new student and he is very talented. Chase Braggs and the Darby team beat the Rockwell Rams easily. Chase dominates the game and talks on the court and brags. Ben does not like Chase because he showed him up and for his talking on the court. Ben goes to work, practicing whenever he can to beat Chase and the Darby team. Ben and his team come up short until the final game which they win on a last second shot. Lily tries to get Ben and Chase to become friends, but Chase brags the whole time they are together and it disgusts Ben. Ben's friend Sam, a starter on the basketball team sprains his ankle and the team has to adjust. They bring up a player,MJ Lau, who hasn't played much. Ben and his teammates help him become a good player. The team become better over the season. That was their goal. During the last game between Darby and Rockwell, Chase pushes Ben and hurts his shoulder. After the game, Chase apologizes to Ben for hurting him, gaining Chases respect for Ben as a player.
I believe the theme of the book is teamwork because one cannot play a team sport without teamwork. The football team won the championship because of teamwork. The Rockwell Rams 6th grade basketball team had to work through the challenges of losing a starting player by helping the new starter feel comfortable in his position. The team works hard practicing to get better to win more games against the competition. Every time they would lose a game they had to work together to get back up and try again. Coach Wright told the team that no matter what happened they hung together, got better, and kept fighting.
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