Basketball seasons, like seasons in life, come and go. The older you get the quicker they both come and go. This year’s season happened so fast that is was almost like a dream and a good dream it was. Let me explain.
Last year we had a good basketball team. As a matter of fact we had a record of 21wins and 9 losses. There were three seniors on last year’s team. To deplete our roster further, we had a player transfer and some chose not to play this year. By the time October rolled around and with it the start of practice, the ranks looked pretty thin in Wildcat Gym. We had three seniors, three juniors and only one sophomore. The squad was rounded out by six talented but young and inexperienced freshman. The experts picked our team to finish 3rd out of four teams in the district and ninth out of fifteen teams in the region.
As we began practice and days turned into weeks it started to become clear that we had a special group on our hands. Even though we only had one starter over six feet tall, we had something nearly lost into today’s first, microwave society. We had a TEAM. Another factor was clearly evident. Our young freshmen and lone sophomore were talented but at least a year away from being ready for heavy varsity minutes. Hence, out of necessity, the IRONMEN were born. Let me tell you about them.
CORBIN ESTES-5’10 JUNIOR GUARD
Corbin was asked to do many things this year. One of the toughest was to play inside against players sometimes 6 to 8 inches taller. No one has probably ever played more out of position. Corbin did this without ever questioning his role. He battled night end and night out. He even had 19 points in one half to lead us to a victory against Murray High. Corbin accepted his role on the team as well as anyone ever could.
COLE GARDNER – 5’11” JUNIOR GUARD
Everyone on our team this year had a role and each knew what the others’ was. Cole Gardner handled the role of pure shooter. Cole became such a force shooting the ball that opponents began to develop their game plans around stopping him. Cole was also a much more well rounded player this year as he rebounded and defended with vigor. Oh, did I mention that he had 31 points in a win over Christian County and tied a school record with 9 three pointers in a win over Ft. Campbell.
DEE MURPHY – 5’11” SENIOR GUARD
Dee had the role of defender. Every night ole Dee took on the task of guarding the other teams best player. Sometimes that meant a point guard and sometimes a center. It didn’t matter; Dee was up to the task. In my humble opinion, Dee goes down as one of the best defenders to have suited up in the black and white. Dee was definitely an all district talent whether the coaches voted him one or not. As a matter of fact Dee was one of the best players in the district.
DAVID WEASE-6’2” SENIOR CENTER
David was our only big man with any experience. He was toughness personified for us this year. There was basically nothing he didn’t do for our team. He scored, blocked shots, defended, rebounded and TOOK CHARGES. He may have set a school record for charges taken in a year. At the region I watched as the trainer stuffed his nose with gauze while wiping blood off his jersey. I thought to myself, David is one of the toughest players I have ever coached in my 30 years at Trigg.
DEONZUEZ NANCE-5’8” SENIOR GUARD
What can you say? Q, as I call him, was phenomenal. He was among the state’s top scorers. He was the player of the year in the 2nd region. Most of all though, I will remember Q as being the most unselfish high scorer that I have ever seen. The longer his career went on the more he created for others. Another point that was made to me by many opposing coaches after the season was that Q played his entire career without ever trashing talking or boasting during a game. Never once did he pound his chest or 3 goggle someone while going down the court. Deonquez always represented us with class on the court.
As I said basketball seasons come and go. With this being my last as coach, I guess they will not come again for me in my present role. I just know that I am glad of one thing. I am thankful I had the IRONMEN to take me through my last one. Thanks guys.
Enthusiasm Makes the Difference
Mike Wright is the head coach of boys basketball and cross country at Trigg County High School. Emails concerning Coach’s Corner can be sent to email@example.com.