Must-see TV: Cougars have plenty to look forward to after run to quarterfinals

Mar. 8—College Heights turned a season that appeared to be doomed in December into a trip to the Class 2 state quarterfinals.

The Cougars finished the regular season 15-10 after being 5-6 earlier in the year, and to spin the season around like that is a success in itself. Add to it that they were one of the last eight teams standing in the state and finished 19-11 overall.

The team credited trusting one another, the players credited head coach Stephan Harrel, he credited God and his group's ability to improve throughout the season.

CHCS was rebounding from graduating multiple key pieces last year and team leader Curtis Davenport. It took time for them to figure things out and for Caleb Quade to take over as that guy.

Quade got his footing in a big win over Diamond in December and started to take off.

It was a positive season for the Cougars in Harrel's first year at the helm and they have nothing to be ashamed of in losing to Hartville 49-31 in the quarterfinals. The Eagles went on to defeat South Pemiscot 44-27 in the semifinals and Weaubleau 60-42 in the championship game.

Hartville's closest matchup was a 61-58 win over Eugene in the state sectional round.

This was a team on a bit of a revenge tour after going 0-2 in the Final Four last year. Hartville was tall, long and athletic. The height and athleticism mixed with long arms and speed was tough to score on.

College Heights defended well in its matchup with the Class 2 state champs but couldn't get enough baskets to fall. It seemed not many players could get shots to fall on the interior outside of Quade. And even the 6-foot-4 post player struggled at times.

The game could be played 10 times over and I think the Cougars would struggle each time. I could see two or three victories on really good shooting nights. But that's the trouble, with the advantage in size the Eagles would defend the paint too well forcing the Cougars to have to have a great night shooting from outside.

The Cougars were around 20 or 25% in the game last weekend.

College Heights will return plenty of talent from this year's team in junior Jayce Walker and sophomores Adam Stanton, Ben Schumacher, Jadon Smith and Cannon Miller, who all got plenty of playtime this year.

Walker will be called upon to score the ball a little more with the graduation of Quade and Colsen Dickens.

I expect Stanton to excel as a wing/forward type of player who can stretch the floor and knock down 3-pointers as well as use his strong frame to bang down low with some post players. Stanton will only get bigger and stronger as well.

Schumacher, Smith and Miller will likely play the role of being shooters and slashers. They will find more of a niche next season with larger roles on the team but each one showed an ability to make the outside shot this year and will develop even more as juniors.

Walker was a game manager and passed the ball really well. His job next year will be finding out how he can score on top of facilitating the ball.

It will be fun to see if this team can make another run next year.