Present day America- a Maine river town the setting -- and the theme the seasonal madness that seizes a town when the home town basketball team is making a killing. Basketball was all that mattered; the high school coach was king pin at the school, and his players cut classes with impunity, were given passing grades and promised athletic scholarships. And with this psychological background, it became very difficult for the McIntosh boys to work out their roles. Carlisle was playing brilliant- if undependable- ball; Ralph began to feel he was being used- for his reach and height alone- and to him it wasn't fun any more; and their crotchety old grandfather, Martin, was making it increasingly difficult as he put obstacles of work and obligation in their way. And then- after the state championship came the regional defeat in Boston, and the team was no longer the town's idol -- but rather their bait. For Carlisle, whose game had gone to pot anyhow and whose injured knee threatened to leave him stiff-legged for life, it was the end, and he seemed, at the story's close, to be going into a moral tailspin. Nobody could touch him:- his mother Susy, or Charles, who had lost a leg in the war; his girl, Debbie, who was out of patience with his self-pity; the science teacher, who had lost his job because he put grades ahead of games, but who had won the girl both he and the coach were courting. It's a good cross sectioning of the town-and though ending on a downbeat, with Carl morally disintegrating, the general sense is that those who mattered most had won something of value out of the whole.