Round Ball Round Up Team Camp 2018 (June 28-30)
Each summer The Cottage School Cougars venture off to Americus, GA on the beautiful campus of Georgia Southwestern University to take part in a team basketball camp (RBRU) hosted by various members of GISA. There are usually close to thirty teams, but this year they were down for some reason and had only fourteen; which just meant we would play less games. The Cougars were only taking eight boys so having twelve games in two and a half days was still plenty for this group to improve as a unit and physically be spent by day three.
After the three and half hour drive, the boys couldn’t wait to get started and it showed. In game one versus a quality program from Citizens Christian Academy, the boys came off the bus with high energy and confidence leading to a 32-19 victory. Senior leader Murphy Husnik, scored 15 points connecting on four three pointers. Newcomer and freshman Aidan Briggs, put in 8 points and the rest of the team worked well together on both ends of the floor to prevail.
An hour later TCS took on another solid squad from Griffin Christian. Cottage continued the same style of ball for all but the final three minutes. Down 31-19, Griffin had no choice to pick up the pressure. Their relentless effort mounted a comeback and the game was within one point (31-30) with just twenty-three seconds remaining. Griffin missed a three pointer and TCS rebounded. The Cougars called a timeout and was able to hold on to the possession as time expired. Another senior leader Brett Boyles, along with Murphy and another newcomer sophomore Reese Bentley, each had strong games to hold on to the win. Feeling great and hungry, the boys went to dinner with one final contest, before bedtime, to follow shortly afterwards.
Maybe the Cougars ate too much or not enough, but the break definitely messed with their mojo. They took on another respected program, Gatewood Academy in game three and were whipped 43-25. The contest appeared to be over in the first two minutes as the sluggish Cougars couldn’t get anything going on offense and were flat defensively. After the defeat, TCS went back to the college dorms to shower and had a brief meeting to plan for the busiest day of camp. Cottage were scheduled for five games, not counting the infamous Cardiac Tournament.
A good night’s rest, hearty breakfast, and game four was in the main college gym (Storm Dome) must have inspired the boys because TCS took on Terrell Academy and raced to an early ten point lead. Similar to the Griffin game, Cottage kept this comfortable edge late and almost coughed it up. Hopefully it was that experience that allowed for better decisions because they held Terrell off for a 38-36 victory. Junior Shane Hendrickson had his best game of camp as he was all over the court. Shane finished with 6 steals, 6 rebounds, 5 points, 4 assists, and 3 blocked shots. His senior teammates Murphy Husnik, Jeffrey Betts, and Parker DeMent followed suite with outstanding communication, focus, and hustle.
An hour later the Cougars had to start a stretch of four more games before dinner at six o’clock. The next three turned out to be close contests, like three of the first four thus far, which is great for the teams’ growth. All three came down to the final possession.
Cottage dropped the first two, 32-28 to Pinewood Christian and 46-42 to Griffin Christian (in a rematch). Each game showed improvement for TCS but also had their share of several careless mistakes. Brett Boyles had another nice game versus Pinewood, connecting on three 3-pointers to add to a total of 14 points and 11 rebounds. Reese Bentley had his best shooting game of the weekend versus Griffin knocking down four 3-pointers for a total of 13 points. Seniors Jeffrey Betts, Parker DeMent, and Alex Hoeve also contributed on the glass and on defense versus Griffin.
Losing two in a row could have lead the team on a downward spiral, but TCS did not allow it. Playing an athletic group from Windsor Academy next was going to be a tough challenge with their ability to force turnovers and score in bunches however, with all the close games thus far it helped better prepare Cottage for this battle. The Cougar’s offensive execution was patient and precise limiting Windsor’s strength. TCS held a 36-35 lead with less than a minute left and had possession. They got the ball inside and missed but Jeffrey Betts outmuscled for the offensive board and put it back in for a 38-35 edge. Windsor responded with a basket, but TCS broke their full court pressure (as they did the whole game) as time expired. Jeffrey’s leadership and aggressiveness was the key to the 38-37 win.
The win poured over to their final contest as they destroyed a Fullington Academy team that could not match the Cougars intensity and confidence. Cottage was down 7-6 early but went on a 31-0 run to win 37-7. Wow! Alex Hoeve played well in this game as did Aidan Briggs. Their defense and ball movement provided much support.
After dinner the boys prepared for the electric Cardiac Tournament. Basically it is a March Madness bracket of all the teams. You win you move on and lose, you are out. The caveat is the games are only two minutes in length with a running clock. Each foul is an automatic one and one on the free throw line, unless a shooting foul, so strategic defense is a must. If both teams are tied at the end, you play a sudden death overtime (first to score wins). The Cougars had to start with Pinewood, a team they lost to earlier in the day. Revenge is sweet as TCS moved on with a 5-3 victory. In their next game they would lose 2-0 to Terrell Academy, who ended up winning the Cardiac championship. Cottage had three good looks at the basket to take the lead or tie it at the end, but to no avail.
Before heading home the next afternoon the Cougars would play two more games after breakfast on day three. A rematch versus Gatewood (who blew them out on day one) was on schedule at 8:00AM. TCS played much better this time and had a chance to win but fell short 50-47. Brett Boyles put in 24 points to carry the offense. Jeffrey Betts and Murphy Husnik also provided solid effort.
Each summer the Cougars improve from camp, as they should. They win some and lose some but you always want to end camp with a victory. It just puts an exclamation point on the progress and makes for a more comfortable and happy three and a half hour drive home.
The Cougars would take on last night’s Cardiac champions (Terrell) for the third time and get to play the game on the college main court again. What better way to end 2018 Round Ball Round Up. As both teams were drained physically it would come down to who could focus and stay mentally tough more consistently. Brett Boyles put in another 20 point game, Murphy added 14 points, and Jeffrey’s toughness inside was too much for Terrell. Cottage went on to win 40-36.
TCS finished 7-5 overall and are more ready for practice in October. They will need to be if the Cougars want to compete for an AAC title. Howard and AASD are both the two heavy favorites for 2019.
Your Proud Cougar Coaches,
Suroy and Richie