Excerpt for Mackenzie Goode Makes a Mistake on the Basketball Court by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

Mackenzie Goode Makes a Mistake

Mackenzie Goode Series, Book 3

By Judith Natelli McLaughlin

Copyright 2017 Judith Natelli McLaughlin

Smashwords Edition

Published by Anaiah Adventures

An imprint of Anaiah Press, LLC.

7780 49th ST N. #129

Pinellas Park, FL 33781

This book is a work of fiction. All characters, places, names, events are either a product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any likeness to any events, locations, or persons, alive or otherwise, is entirely coincidental.

All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form. For inquiries and information, address Anaiah Press, LLC., 7780 49th ST N. #129 Pinellas Park, Florida, 33781

First Anaiah Adventures ebook edition November 2017

Edited by Eden Plantz

Book Design by Anaiah Press

Cover Design by Anaiah Press

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Table of Contents

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven



Stop!” Mackenzie shouted and nearly jumped out of the back seat of her Dad’s car.

In response to Mackenzie’s panic, Dad turned the steering wheel hard and swerved his minivan. “Mac! What’s the matter?” Dad shouted.

“My basketball. I forgot my basketball! I can’t go to my first team practice without the ball.” Mackenzie unbuckled her seat belt and leaned into the front of the car while she tried to explain. “It’d be like ice skating without skates. Wrong.”

“Mackenzie Goode! Put your seat belt back on, and never, I mean never, scare me like that again. I practically drove off the road.”

“Sorry. But can we? Can we go back? Pleeaase?” Mac pleaded while clicking herself back into her seatbelt. And then, practically before she even got the last word out, she could feel the car turning around, and a big grin spread across her face. “Thanks, Dad.”

After unexpectedly retrieving her forgotten basketball from home and finally picking up Charise Charboneau, her best friend, Dad drove the minivan through their school’s half-circle parking lot to drop Mac and Charise at the front door for their first basketball practice. As they exited the car, Dad shouted after them in his deepest, loudest, basketball-coaching voice.

“Mac and Cheese, good defense please!”

The girls giggled, Charise elbowing Mackenzie in the ribs. “I love that your dad calls me Cheese.”

“Duh? It’s your name,” Mac said, elbowing her back. “Even better, it’s our name. Mac and Cheese. Ha!”

“Yeah, and I like it,” Cheese added before the girls ran up the brick school steps, down the slippery, newly waxed hall, and into the gym, each clutching their basketballs to their chests with excitement. Suddenly, their sneakers squeaked as they came to an abrupt halt on the blue painted line of the gymnasium floor. Mac gave a sideways look to Cheese, talking with her eyes. “Wow,” Cheese responded.

Before them was a third-grade girl, standing far away from the basketball net. Farther away than Mac had ever stood for any game of horse she had played with Cheese. Mac didn’t know this girl, and what she was doing was impossible. Unnatural. Unreal even. Next to her was a rack of basketballs filled to the brim with thirty or more dirty, orange balls. This girl grabbed a ball, hurled it toward the net, and watched with a proud look on her face as it swooshed through. And then, she did it again. And again. And again. This was no fluke. This was no joke. And this girl made Mac want to leave and forget she had ever signed up for basketball in the first place. But before Mac had the chance to run, Cheese grabbed her hand and tugged her toward the bench where they could dump their bags and water bottles. Mac glanced over her shoulder, and the most athletic girl she had ever seen in her life was still draining shot after shot. “Wrong,” Mac muttered under her breath.

“Ok girls.” Coach blew a whistle that hung around his neck, using one long, loud blast. “I’m Coach K, and it’s time to line up for our first practice. Let’s bring it in.” This time, he blew the whistle using two short blasts. All the girls in the gym scattered, putting balls away, setting bags on benches, and shedding their jackets before dashing to the line Coach pointed at. Mac, next to Cheese, whispered, “I hate this already.”

“No talking while I’m talking,” Coach said staring directly at Mac. Mac swallowed hard and stood just a bit straighter. “Like I said, I’m Coach K. When I blow my whistle, I want each of you to step forward and state your name.”

“What are we, the Von Trapp Family from The Sound of Music,” Mac whispered to Cheese. Cheese used her eyes to tell Mac to be quiet. Mac understood what Cheese was saying and immediately stopped talking. However, she couldn’t help but notice Coach K glaring at her.

Coach blew the whistle, and one by one, each girl stepped forward.

“I’m Emma.”

“I’m Zoe.”

And there were six more girls Mac recognized from other elementary schools: Carly, Maura, Halle, Olivia, Sophia, and Julia. “I’m Mackenzie,” Mac said

“I’m Charise,” Charise said.

Finally, after Coach blew his whistle, the best girl stepped forward. “I’m Isabella Keane,” She said. “I’m new. And I’m good.”

“Isabella,” Coach said, giving her a quick sideways glare.

“Sorry, Dad. I’m Isabella Keane. I’m new. And I’m glad to meet you all.”

“Dad?” Mac whispered to Cheese. “That’s why she’s so good. And that’s why this is going to be A-1, top-rate awful.”

“That’s right,” Coach added. “My family just moved here. Isabella is my daughter, and we’re going to have some fun. Promise. Now, when I blow my whistle, I want ten warm-up laps. Coach blew his whistle, and the girls began running their laps.

Mac had one thing to say. “Wrong.”


Coach blew his whistle. “Bring it in girls,” he said to the teammates who had just finished their laps. The girls jogged toward Coach and made a circle around him. “A little slow there, Mackenzie. You’re going to need to pick up your speed if you want to excel at basketball. It’s all about being quick,” Coach said while setting up what looked to Mac like a hopscotch board.

“I’ll get good at basketball when I actually start to use a basketball,” Mac whispered to Charise. Mac could feel the heat rising up in her cheeks, and she imagined them turning the deepest, darkest shade of red, as if she were having an allergic reaction to Coach’s words.

“Coach wasn’t nice,” Cheese whispered back to Mac. “Ignore him. But listen to his next instructions.”

Mac gave a sideways look of confusion to Cheese. With her eyes, she was asking how it was possible to ignore a person but listen to them at the same time. Cheese laughed, and it seemed to Mac that her best friend, like always, understood exactly what her eyes were saying. “Ignore the bad, and listen to the good,” Cheese whispered.

“Don’t even bother trying,” Isabella said, sticking her head in between Mac and Cheese. “I’m the star on this team, and you’re only here to make me look good.”

Mac felt her face become an even darker shade of red, and when she glanced down, she noticed she was clenching her fists. She loosened them and took a deep breath, but before she even got a chance to respond to Isabella, Coach began barking instructions.

“No side bar conversations on my team,” he said. “That includes you, Isabella.”

A wide grin spread across Mac’s face.

“And you too, Mackenzie,” Coach added. “Come here, Mackenzie. See this grid I set up on the floor?” Coach pointed to the hopscotch board. “I want you to run through it with quick feet, tapping each foot in each square. Basketball is all about quick feet.”

“I thought basketball was all about the basketball,” Mac said. “And so far, we haven’t even touched one.”

Coach just glared at Mackenzie and pointed to the grid. He blew his whistle and shouted, “Go!”

Mackenzie put her right foot in the right square, left foot in the left square, but as she worked her way up the ladder that was set up on the floor, she tripped over her own feet and fell. “Wrong,” she whispered before picking herself up and heading to the back of the line.

“Not bad for a first try,” Coach said. “You’ll get this. Watch how Isabella runs through the ladder. Isabella?”

With speed, quick feet, and a bounce in her step, Isabella flawlessly ran through the ladder. The rest of the team followed behind, looking more like Mac than Isabella. However, Mac couldn’t help but notice that nobody else fell. Mac was starting to feel herself hating basketball. Why did I ever sign up for this stupid team?

After a few rounds of the ladder, Mac actually got better, but she didn’t care. She was already feeling miserable. She saw Emma and Zoe laughing. They looked like they were having fun. She wanted to join in, but she was too mad. Mad with a capital M.

“Good work, team.” Coach blew his whistle again. “Time to get our hands on a basketball. Please retrieve your balls from the bench, and meet me back here at the free-throw line. On the count of three.” Coach gave his whistle one loud, quick blast. “Go.”

Mac smiled big. She thrust her shoulders back and imagined herself at the free-throw line, draining basket after basket, like she had seen Isabella do earlier. Now would be her time to shine. Stuck in her own world, she hadn’t noticed everyone was sprinting for their balls. “Mackenzie, vite, vite, vite, mon amie,” Charise said in French as she ran past Mac. Mackenzie looked up and didn’t even need the translation from Charise. She got it right away. Fast, fast, fast, my friend. But it was too late. Mackenzie was last in line. And who was first? Isabella. Wrong.

“Isabella, head to the back of the line,” Coach said. “You took enough shots earlier. Let’s give the rest of the team a chance. Here’s the deal. You pick any spot on the floor to shoot from and you throw until you miss. What’s your name again?” Coach nodded at the first girl in line.

“Emma.” With wide eyes, Emma whispered her own name.

“Pick a spot and go.”

Emma moved herself into a layup position, hurled the ball and missed. “Darn,” she said.

Zoe was next. She made a layup, and the teammates cheered. Coach told her to go again. She missed and took her spot at the back of the line. Charise made two in a row, and Mac clapped so loud she thought her hands would break.

Finally, it was Mackenzie’s turn.

“Let’s see what you got, Mac,” Coach said.

Mac picked her spot. It was to the right of the net. Not too close and not too far. It was, she thought, her sweet spot. She dribbled the ball a few times, like she’d seen the professionals do on television. She planted her feet. Hurled the ball. Then she closed her eyes, waiting to hear the swoosh sound of the ball through the net. It was pretty. In her head, she could see it. But instead, all she heard was a thwonk. No basket. Mac harrumphed. Isabella grinned so big Mac wanted to slap her.

“You’ll shoot better if you keep your eyes opened.” Coach drew his clipboard to his chest. Now, bring it in team,” Coach added. The girls formed a circle around him. “Today is why we practice. And it’s a good thing our season doesn’t start for another two weeks, because we need the practice. But we’ll get there. By the time I’m done with all of you, I’ll have your game as strong as Isabella’s. But I want you to work at home, too. Practice that ladder drill we did for quick feet. Run some sprints, and shoot some balls. Let’s make our next practice better than this one. Take a lap, and I’ll see you next week.”

Mac and Cheese fell in next to one another for a lap around the gym.

“Signing up for basketball was one big mistake,” Mac said. “And I am not good.”

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