A dynasty, according to Wikipedia, is defined as an “era in which a family reigned.” The Cottage School Cougars are now back-2-back Atlanta Athletic Conference champions for a second time in just a five year period after defeating the Atlanta Area School for the Deaf Panthers, 72-53. TCS has gone 54-9 in the AAC over this span including the last two undefeated seasons in which they have swept the league (24-0). There is no question TCS varsity boys basketball team have become a dynasty. And it goes beyond ruling the AAC as the Cougars finish 20-6 this season for their second twenty win season (2010: 20-7). Coach Briggs speaks on the accomplishment, “To build and maintain a strong program takes many small fundamental principles; one of which is to learn confidence-to believe in our system expecting to win. What I enjoy the most is not the titles alone but the fact that over this incredible reign we play as one unit. Each year we have a group of guys that rely on each other. They hold themselves accountable understanding the power of a team over individuals.”
To the game:
Both teams used a conservative approach early in this championship match, working the ball around on each possession. The Panthers, on two occasions, held it for two minutes at a time. By period’s end, Atlanta Area School had a slim 9-6 advantage.
With a tempo this slow the Cougars stayed out of foul trouble which allowed for them to pick up the defensive pressure. To begin the second stanza TCS full-court pressed the Panthers, deflecting passes and gathering steals, resulting in some open court baskets. TCS found some rhythm and began to score from all over the court. Five Cougars converted on buckets including two three-point bombs from K.J. Powell and one from Chris Taura. At intermission, TCS led 33-24 and Coach Suroy Henderson spoke, “We made it two quarters without foul trouble so you will see some intense defensive effort to begin the third. We expect to go on another eight to ten point run to all but end this game now, putting the Panthers away with a third quarter knock-out blow.”
Sure enough TCS showed why it has not lost an AAC game in two years as AASD struggled to find open looks, and on offense the Cougars’ cohesiveness again produced five teammates scoring. TCS outscored the Panthers 22-10 in the third stanza and now led 55-34.
Both teams traded baskets throughout the fourth frame as the Cougars prevailed 72-53 to repeat as AAC champions!
Junior A.J. Farrar continued to prove his dominance in the AAC, earning MVP of the tournament, like he did last year. How fitting does he end the season with another 20-20 performance (his 6th time of the season—by far a school record) scoring 25 points and hauling in 21 rebounds? Farrar also dished out 7 assists, had 6 blocked shots, and stole 2 balls.
Senior Dion Schmidt finished his two-year TCS career just as he started…victorious! Dion has never lost an AAC contest in his career. He scored 11 points, had 5 assists, had 2 rebounds, and 2 steals. His leadership will be missed. Dion also finished with 71 assists on the season which puts him in third place all-time at TCS (Farrar had 72 in 2011 and 103 this year).
Senior Evan Robertson became the first 3-time champion in league history! In four years as a varsity Cougar, Mr. Robertson has been a part of 66 wins and is 47-6 in the AAC. Evan scored 7 points in this game, with 4 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 steals. What a career!
Senior and Captain Simon Hirschhorn did not light up a stat sheet, but never does. His leadership each day on an off the floor is valuable in other ways; mainly focus and hustle. Simon led the Cougars to an unblemished 24-0 record in the AAC as their fearless Captain.
Sophomore K.J. Powell hit some big shots and scored 10 points in the win. His defense was outstanding throughout the contest for his first championship with TCS.
Junior Marquis Victor scored 8 points, pulled down 11 boards, had 4 assists, and 3 steals to win his second crown for Cottage.
Freshman Chris Taura also provided excellent defense and scored 7 points in his first title run.
Junior Stan Long scored two baskets in the win. His presence was just beginning to be felt in the league, playing just a few games. He joined TCS after the winter break, than suffered a setback with a broken orbital bone. We cannot wait for summer camp and next season.
Senior Riley McCormick finished his TCS career as a champion. He also blocked two shots in the final two minutes to bring loud cheers from the Cougar fans.
Senior Evan Patterson also goes out as a champion. He snagged a rebound from Riley’s blocked shot that led to a fast break.
Suroy and I would like to acknowledge the rest of the team for their hustle and focus each day. Without their effort, the whole team does not reach full potential. Sophomore Carlos Vargas (two big rebounds in the game) and juniors, Jake Daunt, Ray O’Brien, and Patrick Thompson were all first-year varsity lettermen and now, champions.
Also, much appreciation to Gina Daunt as our scorebook keeper and Zak Kitzler as the score clock operator for home games. Thanks must go out to JV assistant coach Keith West for dedicating his expertise on all days he was not with the JV team. To the parents, friends and family, and staff…thank you for the support on this great journey. Your cheers, support, and tasty sandwiches were of much assistance.
More on A.J. Farrar’s incredible junior season and career to this point:
A.J. finished the season with 536 points, 421 rebounds, 103 assists, 81 steals, 115-156 from the free throw line (74%), and 64 blocks. All of these statistics are season school records! But it doesn’t stop there…In just three years, Farrar is now the TCS *record holder or holds second place in each of these categories for a career and still has one more year.
*A.J. has 874 rebounds; Anthony Isaacs (2007-2009) held record with 595 boards.
*A.J. has 237 assists; Omari Anderson (2007-2010) held the record with 144 assists.
*A.J. has 159 blocks; Chris Schleier (2003-2006) held the record with close to 150 blocks.
*A.J. has made 268-384 FT’s shooting at 70%; Omari Anderson held the record with 173-348 FT’s at 50 % (a minimum of 150 FT attempts must be recorded).
A.J. has 1,159 points; Omari Anderson holds the record with 1,182 points.
A.J. has 159 steals; Omari Anderson holds the record with 215 steals.
Very Proud Cougar Coaches,
Suroy Henderson and Richie Briggs