High school basketball season is barely two weeks old and most coaches are still trying to figure out what the best combination of players is for their teams and what works best in certain situations.
CSAS coach Zach Dragoo has an experienced group to work with, but they too are still looking for what works best.
The young coach had to be somewhat happy following Monday night’s 74-57 victory at home against the Grace Baptist Academy Golden Eagles.
“All I know is that I’m excited to be 5-1 and we haven’t come close to playing up to our potential,” he said shortly after Monday’s game ended.
“We aren’t there yet as these guys aren’t ready to get uncomfortable yet, but we can all take it to another level. We got a chance to play a bunch of guys and I think we were able to wear them down with our numbers, but we haven’t even tipped the iceberg yet.
“We still have to learn how to play the game the right way, but it’s still early and we’ll keep working hard to get better,” he added.
Grace coach Darris Waters knows that his team will also only get better after suffering its first loss after two wins.
“I thought we played with great effort and intensity, but I feel like we let our emotions get the best of us at times,” Waters suggested afterward.
“I thought we had a great first quarter, but sort of relaxed after that. I thought we did a pretty good job of carrying out our game plan, but we got caught up in the fast pace of the game. We got a bunch of good looks, but didn’t convert as well as I would have liked.
“But it’s still early and I’m hopeful we can learn from a game like this. Those guys are pretty good and I’m pretty sure we want face anyone any better than they are this year,” Waters added.
With Chase Pride scoring five of his 14 points in the opening 90 seconds, the host Patriots bolted to a 7-1 lead. Eight straight points a little later in the quarter stretched a 9-6 lead to 17-6 with 3:26 left in the opening stanza.
Grace then finished the quarter on a 10-0 run to trail by a point at the first break and the Golden Eagles added the first four points of the second period to lead 20-17 following a short bank shot by Cooper Knecht with 6:55 left before intermission.
But that’s when the tide turned for the Patriots.
Scoring 16 straight unanswered points in the next four minutes, CSAS turned that three-point deficit into a 33-20 lead following a slam by Justin Brown at the 2:56 mark.
Pierce Smith scored on a reverse layup to make it 33-22 with 1:37 left, but the Patriots got two buckets from Evan Ramsey in the final minute for a 37-22 lead at intermission.
Grace got three three-point plays the old fashioned way from Mason Long, Eli Ibrahim and Long in a 47-second span to get within 44-33 with 6:01, but it never got any closer as the Patriots slowly pulled away.
Brown scored 20 points to lead the winning Patriots while Pride followed with 14 and Louis Bell with 10. Jarious Cameron and Ramsey were next with nine and eight points, respectively, as nine of the 12 CSAS players who saw action scored at least two points.
Long was tops for the Golden Eagles with 16 points while Ibrahim and Knecht were next with 13 and 11 points, respectively.
CSAS also had an unofficial 31-28 advantage on the glass with Brown grabbing six and Bell five for the Patriots. Knecht, Smith and Ibrahim all had five for Grace.
CSAS GIRLS 44, GRACE 21: This game was close for the first eight minutes as the game was tied at 7-7 when the first quarter ended, but the Lady Patriots used an 18-7 difference in the second quarter and a 10-0 edge in the third to end all doubt about which team would win.
Cheyenne Frye had 10 points to lead the Lady Patriots while Jakiya Benn was next with eight.
Anna Rush was tops for Grace with five points while Savannah Engelbrecht, Taylor Adams and Ella Taylor Waldron all finished with four points apiece.
GRACE 7 7 0 7 -- 21
CSAS 7 18 10 9 -- 44
GRACE (21) – Rush 5, Engelbrecht 4, Adams 4, Mock, Gaby 2, Holliman 2, Waldron 4, Cherwonuk, Smith.
CSAS (44) – Pettaway, Stinson 3, Meyners 5, Thompson 3, Wright 4, Houston 5, Phillips 4, Whiteside, Grudzinski 2, Benn 8, Cheyenne Frye 10.
3-POINT GOALS: Grace 1 (Rush); CSAS 6 (Frye 2, Stinson, Meyners, Thompson, Houston.
GRACE 16 6 22 13 -- 57
CSAS 17 20 20 17 -- 74
GRACE (57) – N. Parrott, Cooper Knecht 11, Mason Long 16, Smith 6, T. Parrott 3, Ivarson 4, Adams, Eli Ibrahim 13, Mason 2, Rice 2, Goins, Worley.
CSAS (74) – Gaines, Chase Pride 14, Cameron 9, Grudzinski 6, Justin Brown 20, McDonald 3, Wright 2, Wilson 2, McFarland, Louis Bell 10, Ramsey 8, Lowry.
3-POINT GOALS: Grace 1 (T. Parrott); CSAS 5 (Pride 4, Cameron).
(email John Hunt at email@example.com)