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  • Place into fry basket, cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Then cool and set aside. Drain the sweet potato fries well and pat dry with a paper towel. Transfer fries to a mixing bowl, combine cornstarch, canola oil, water and powdered sugar. Place 1/3 of the fries into the Airfryer basket and cook for 10 to 12 minutes.
  • White 4 receives the ball free Black 13 pushes a screener during a shot for goal by White 4. Defensive foul is called and the basket counts.

Scroll down for the free, written pattern instructions. If you would like to download the beautifully-formatted, ad-free, and easy-to-read PDF version with photo referenc es (see preview below), click here to purchase it for a small fee in my shop. This pattern, along with most of my other designs, is also available in my Etsy shop.

Copyright © 1968, 1991 by Matt Christopher Royalties, Inc.

All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced,
distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written
permission of the publisher.

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Little, Brown Books for Young Readers is a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

The Little, Brown name and logo are trademarks of Hachette Book Group, Inc

First eBook Edition: December 2009

The characters and events in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and
not intended by the author.

Matt Christopher® is a registered trademark of Matt Christopher Royalties, Inc.

ISBN: 978-0-316-09590-7




ere!” Mel Jensen shouted from the corner of the court.

Earl Stone glanced at him, then passed the ball quickly to Caskie Bennett running up behind him. Earl, or Stoney as the kids
called him, screened for Caskie. Caskie shot. The ball arced toward the basket, hit the far side of the rim, and bounced off.

Mel fumed as he rushed in for the rebound. That was the second time he was in the clear and Stoney didn’t pass to him.

Mel leaped. Several other pairs of arms stretched up, too. Dutch Fullmer, Quincy’s tall center, reached higher than the others,
pulled down the ball, whipped it out of Titan hands, then passed to a Quint in the corner. The Quint dribbled to the center
line, passed to another Quint beelining toward the Titans’ basket.
All five Titans rushed after him but he was too far in the lead. He leaped and laid the ball up against the boards. The big
orange sphere wobbled through the net for two more points.

Mel glanced at the scoreboard. VISITORS — 6; HOME - 7. It could have been VISITORS — 4 and HOME - 9 if Stoney had thrown him
the ball.

Mel looked at Coach Tom Thorpe sitting next to the other Hillcrest Titans. Didn’t Coach see Stoney purposely ignoring him?
Or didn’t he care?

Mr. Corbin, Hillcrest’s junior varsity coach, was refereeing this practice game between the Hillcrest Titans and the Quincy
Quints. He handed the ball to Rick Longfoot, the Titans’ right guard, gave a blast on his whistle, and the game resumed.

Rick tossed to Caskie. Caskie dribbled the ball up to the center line, crossed it, then bounced a pass to Skeet Robinson.
Skeet feinted out a Quint guard, dribbled toward the keyhole, then stopped and took a quick look over his shoulder.

“Here!” shouted Mel as he ran up behind him.

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Skeet passed to him and Mel dribbled to the corner. He started to take a set shot, but a Quint popped up in front of him.
Mel pivoted so that his
back was to the guard and passed to Rick. Rick drove in, leaped. … A Quint leaped at the same time, pressed his hand on the
ball, and the whistle shrilled.

“Jump ball!” yelled Mr. Corbin.

Rick tapped to Caskie. Caskie passed to Skeet, Skeet to Stoney. Mel ran down along the sideline, his right arm raised. He
was in the clear. Stoney could pass him the ball if he wanted to. The nearest Quint to Mel was at least twenty feet away.

But again Stoney didn’t pass to him. He passed to Caskie instead. Caskie stopped abruptly some ten feet from the basket and
shot. The ball struck the far side of the ring, bounced high, then came down again, struck the front side of the ring, and
bounced off toward the keyhole.

A flock of green uniforms, the Titans, and black-striped gold uniforms, the Quints, scrambled after the ball. A Titan got
it. Mel Jensen.

He yanked the ball away from stubborn hands, drove in hard, laid it up. The ball arced, brushed against the boards, slipped
through the net.

“Way to go, Mel!” yelled a high-pitched voice from the bench.

Mel grinned and waved to his buddy, Darryl Brady, sitting on the bench. He’d recognize Darryl’s voice anywhere. Both Mel and
Darryl were new in the Hillcrest School this year. Their families had moved this past summer into a section of Trexton where
only one other black family lived. Mel’s father was a dentist and Darryl’s father was an electronics engineer.

Some neighbors had welcomed the new families warmly. Others had not.

“Don’t worry,” Dad had said after the first few days. “They’ll get used to us and we’ll get used to them. We sleep the same
way, eat the same food, breathe the same air. They’ll learn that nothing is different between us, black or white.”

“It isn’t
the whites, Dad,” Mel said. “It’s just a few.”

He was thinking of Stoney and Caskie, although he knew there were others, too.

“I know,” said Dad.

A horn sounded. Darryl and Pedro Dorigez ran onto the court. Darryl took Stoney’s place, Pedro took Mel’s.

The quarter soon ended and the game went into
the second period. Coach Thorpe put in Andy Head and Kim Nemeth, giving the whole team almost equal time on the court.

Resentment flashed through Mel when he saw that both Stoney and Caskie were ignoring Darryl, too. More than twice they could
have passed the ball to Darryl. He had been in the clear, in a good spot to shoot. But they had ignored him, just as they
had ignored Mel.

Darryl intercepted a pass from a Quint and dribbled the ball as hard as he could down the length of the court. Then he leaped,
laid the ball up, and sank it for two points!

“All right!” yelled Darryl. “You don’t have to pass it, Cas! I’ll get that ball one way or another!”

That Darryl. He didn’t care what he said or to whom he said it. Mel glanced at the coach. Coach Thorpe had cracked a grin.
Mel was sure that there was very little that went unnoticed by the coach’s alert eyes, and wondered if he would say anything
to Caskie and Stoney about not passing to Mel and Darryl. Guess I’ll just have to wait, Mel thought.

The game went through the third and fourth quarters with the two coaches putting in all their
players and playing both man-to-man and zone defense. The Quints won by a narrow margin, 38–35. It’s lucky, thought Mel, that
it wasn’t a league game.

The Titans and the Quints went to the locker rooms and showered. Mel was already under a shower, enjoying the cool, needlelike
spray, when Darryl showed up and took another stall. Behind him came Caskie and the other members of the team.

“Nice game, Mel!” yelled Rick Longfoot.


“You, too, Rick!” said Mel with a laugh.

Stoney and Caskie looked at him and Darryl briefly as they went by to another shower stall. Neither said anything.

Mel was glad when he and Darryl were dressed and out of there. It was cold and wintry outside but more comfortable than being
around Caskie Bennett and Stoney.


he next day was Thanksgiving. Mel thought he had never seen so much food on the table in his life. Right in the middle of
it was a large, crisply cooked turkey. Mom and Dad sat at opposite ends of the table with Mel and Robby on one side and Cindy
and their big sister Ruth on the other.

As was the Jensen tradition, each family member took a turn to say what he or she was thankful for. Everyone laughed when
Cindy said she was thankful not to be sharing a bedroom with her big sister anymore. When it was his turn, Mel hesitated a
bit. It didn’t make sense to be thankful for the way Caskie and Stoney treated him.

But there were a lot of other things he was thankful for. Top of the list was having a place on the Titans.

All four children climbed into the bus Monday morning after the long Thanksgiving weekend. Cindy got off at the elementary
school, Robby and Mel at the middle school, and Ruth, a sophomore, continued on to the high school.

Seeing Caskie and Stoney in his classes made Mel think of the ball game again. But it wasn’t until the next day that thinking
about them really bothered him. He wished he were like Darryl Brady. Hardly anything bothered Darryl. But Mel got to thinking
so much about Caskie’s and Stoney’s treatment of him and Darryl at the last ball game that he couldn’t think of geography
in Ms. Agard’s class at all.

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Suddenly he realized that she was addressing him. “Melvin, I asked you a question. What is
and what is made from it?”

Mel remembered that the class was studying the country of Argentina. He remembered reading about
, but for the life of him he couldn’t think of what it was and what was made from it.

“Did you study this chapter, Melvin?” Ms. Agard asked, peering directly at him through her blue-rimmed glasses.

“Yes, I did,” he answered truthfully.

“Then why can’t you answer the question?”

Mel shrugged. “I don’t know.” Quickly he took a stab at the answer. “It’s a kind of mineral, isn’t it?”

A burst of laughter broke from the class. “No, it isn’t, Melvin.” Ms. Agard glanced over his head. “Can you answer the question,

“It’s a tree from which the people get tannin, stuff used … I mean a product used in tanning hides,” answered Caskie.

“That’s right,” said Ms. Agard. “Do you remember that now, Melvin?”

Mel avoided her eyes. “Yes,” he said, embarrassed.

It seemed hours before class was over. And all that time Ms. Agard didn’t ask him another question. “What’s the trouble, Melvin?”
she asked quietly after the others had left the room. “You’ve always been prepared before. Why weren’t you today?”

The Basket Counts PDF Free Download

He shrugged again. “Just couldn’t remember,” he said.

“But you did study the chapter on Argentina?”

“Uh-huh. Yes.”

Ms. Agard was quiet a moment. “You’re on the basketball team, aren’t you?”


“Has that got anything to do with it? Or anyone on the team?”

He looked at his fingernails. Somehow he felt she suspected. “Maybe.” Then he looked at her. “Please give me another chance,
Ms. Agard. I’ll remember next time.”

“You’re sure?”


“Okay, Melvin. You may go.”

“Thanks, Ms. Agard.”

Of all his teachers he liked her the best. She seemed to understand him more than the others did. He was sorry he hadn’t remembered
the answer to her question, and somehow felt that he had let her down.

After school the Titans played their first league game. The Quincy Quints were their opponents. Caskie and Stoney started
off in the forward positions, Mel and Rick Longfoot in the guard positions, and Skeet Robinson at center against Dutch Fullmer.
Caskie scored the first basket from the corner, then Skeet laid one up and drew a foul at the same time.

The ball went in, so Skeet was allowed only one shot. He took his time at the foul line, shot the ball from his chest, and
made it.

“Yea, Robinson!” shouted the Titan cheerleaders.

The Quints took out the ball, moved it cautiously downcourt. Across the center line they passed it quickly and carefully among
themselves, the sound of the ball a whispering thump as it moved from one pair of hands to another.

Mel waited for a pass to be thrown to his man and saw it coming. He leaped in front of his opponent, grabbed the ball, and
dribbled it hard upcourt. From the corner of his eye he saw a player, a player in a green uniform, running several feet to
his left. Close behind him thundered another pair of running feet. But he was close to the basket now. He leaped and shot.

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The ball brushed against the backboard, rolled around the rim, and dropped off!

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“Yayeeeee!” screamed the Quints’ fans.

“You … you … !” the boy in the green uniform glared at him. “Why didn’t you pass it to me?” It was Caskie Bennett.

Mel said nothing. A Quint caught the rebound, dribbled it away from the basket, and passed to another Quint. Seconds later
they scored.

At the end of the first quarter it was a 13–13 tie. Pedro Dorigez and Kim took Mel’s and Skeet’s places in the second period.
By the end of the half there was still little change. It was 21–20 in favor of the Hillcrest Titans.

Darryl, in Stoney’s place when the second half started, sank a corner shot. A minute later he scored three more points on
a layup that drew a foul.

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“Yea, Brady!” screamed the cheerleaders.

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The Quints came back within a point of tying the score again. Titans’ ball. Pedro Dorigez arced a pass to Mel. A Quint burst
in, grabbed the pass, and dribbled downcourt for another two points that put them in the lead.