I love this shot! It perfectly reflects the heat of the action, and it's amazing that the main 2 payers are almost perfectly sharp. The colors are wonderful too! It's also great that one can see the number of the player with the ball: informative value is very important in photojournalism.
I would crop the left part of the picture though and maybe the top a little bit too, the entire row of darkness. Try different croppings so that the main action attracts even more attention!
Nope, it was handheld. I only got my DSLR as a gift and I definitely don't have the money to buy anything else for it... So no tripod for me =/ I do have the basic kit and an extra lens and battery, though, so I'm fine for now. Stopping action is much easier for me now that I have a bit of experience, but it really depends on the lighting. The lighting in my high school's gym is absolutely horrible, but this was at a different school and they had decent lighting. Not great, but decent
ahhh Im a Canon lover personaly... i find Nikons hard to read and change the settings... actually my Canon D20 was a gift from one of my models (Tamara Kristen/Tamara Lewis, shes a wedding dress designer) but I only have a zoom lense... so I can do macro or zoom photos.... cant afford a regular lens :/ i borrow her lense wenever I can lol