By DAVE SCHABELL
Excuse me if I take a moment to blow our own horn concerning the Brossart-LaSalle effort on Sunday and comment on the state of our overall program.
While we came up short and failed to win the ballgame on Sunday, I think we will all agree that we gave the big GCL school from across the river all that they wanted and more. LaSalle came into our game ranked FIFTH in Cincinnati and SEVENTH in the State of Ohio. Bullitt East (who beat NCC last week) was down 44-10 at halftime and embarrassed by Oak Hills (who we beat last year in the same event in the Cintas Center) and Campbell County couldn’t begin to compete with Elder down 41-22 at halftime (who we battled to the wire two years ago in the Cintas Center and beat on the JV level last year in The Pit). On the other hand, the Brossart-LaSalle game was dead even and simply came down to whose shots fell and whose didn’t.
Our ability to compete on this level year in and year out just doesn’t happen by coincidence or accident – it isn’t done with mirrors and lights. It started when Coach Willie Schlarman took the job in 1997, incorporating a system of hard work and tough defense which has been passed on team to team and raised to the next level by our present coaching staff. It starts in the Freshmen and Junior Varsity programs where our players are taught to play good, hard, smart defense and by the time that they are varsity players have developed a work ethic where they demand perfection of themselves and know what it takes to get the job done.
We didn't just show up and play on Sunday. Our coaches scouted LaSalle on at least three occasions and had a game plan in place that gave our guys a chance to win. We came in Saturday after a tough loss to Holy Cross the night before (and the JVs following a just completed JV game vs the JV Lancers) and spent nearly two hours simply preparing for LaSalle. Our guys knew what the Lnacers were going to run and were prepared to defend it. We also knew how to best utilize our guys offensively, allowing them to take their best shots. How many charges did we take???? How many did they take on us??? Our Freshmen and JVs played LaSalle on Saturday and will play LexCath here Wednesday night in order to get better.
If there is a finer, more knowledgeable coaching staff in the state I’d like to see it. There may be bigger names, but I would put our coaching staff up against ANY. Its again no coincidence that other coaches seek them out to try to duplicate what we do to improve their own programs or sit in on our practices to try to capture our magic. Mike and Scott Code are great teachers of the game with fantastic basketball minds and Bob Rowe is the perfect JV coach, tough and relentless in preparing his players for the varsity level.
From the night Nathan Seiter buried the shot to beat CovCath back in ’97 to the present day this program has held its own with any, anywhere. The ability to compete with the Elders, Oak Hills, and LaSalles of the world and the ability to beat the Clay Counties, LexCaths, Graves Counties, CovCaths and the domination of NewCaths and Campbell Countys etc isn’t just luck or coincidence. It is the result of a superior coaching staff, dedicated, over-achieving kids, and the fact that we are not afraid of hard work.
I hope our fans, benefactors, and administration realize and appreciate what we have got going here and will get out and not be afraid to promote our program proudly and publicly when the opportunity arises.
Be proud to be a Mustang!!!!