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Cougars will rely on young players after big season


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The Cougars' Jacob Stephenson, center, battles for a rebound during the regional game. FILE PHOTO
The Cougars' Jacob Stephenson, center, battles for a rebound during the regional game. FILE PHOTO

Greenwood Christian Academy's Lucas Peters is helped from the floor by head coach Jamie Satre and teammates Alexander Brown, left, and Noah Shingleton after a March 15 regional loss to Clay City. FILE PHOTO
Greenwood Christian Academy's Lucas Peters is helped from the floor by head coach Jamie Satre and teammates Alexander Brown, left, and Noah Shingleton after a March 15 regional loss to Clay City. FILE PHOTO


Every boys basketball player believes his team still has another game or two left in the tank.

This sentiment is common at Greenwood Christian Academy, where 11 days have passed since the Cougars’ dream season came to a painfully abrupt halt in the championship game of the Martinsville Regional.

Clay City’s somewhat controversial 66-65 victory is a skinned knee that only time has the resources to heal.

Greenwood Christian coach Jamie Satre is convinced it will.

“Initially, the loss was hard to swallow. But now, looking back on it, our goal was to win sectional. To do that was huge,” said Satre, whose program settled for being one of the final eight Class A programs standing as opposed to four.

“How we lost is still tough, but we had just an amazing season. Just to be able to say you’re in a regional championship game is great.”

This month marked the eighth year of postseason competition for Greenwood Christian Academy, which became affiliated with the IHSAA in time for the 2006-07 season.

Each year the Cougars became more competitive, gradually closing the point-spread gap between themselves and other participants at the Edinburgh Sectional.

This year Greenwood Christian finally kicked the door down.

A 68-57 win against Southwestern (Shelby) on March 5 was the first sectional win in the program’s relatively brief history; subsequent defeats of Lutheran and Waldron swelled both the team’s confidence and bandwagon as the Cougars prepared for regional.

Defeating Metropolitan 65-62 in the morning semifinal established another first. Likewise falling short by the narrowest margin possible later that evening with a semistate berth so enticingly within reach.

What had been a can-do mindset has graduated to have-done.

Greenwood Christian Academy’s 19 wins this winter equals the amount it produced in its first four IHSAA seasons (2006-2010) combined.

Among those who’ll be back to attempt to stretch the momentum into the 2014-15 season are 6-foot guard Noah Shingleton, 5-8 guard Mark Gibson and 6-1, 220-pound post Alec Brown.

This will be a tall order, with Greenwood Christian graduating six seniors responsible for 90 percent of the team’s point production, 86 percent of its rebounds and 90 percent of all Cougars’ assists.

“It’s definitely going to be interesting to see how it goes without those six seniors,” Satre said. “Our sectional is going to be tough every year, but we’ve got a great group coming back, and our JV team lost only one or two games this season.”

As the only Johnson County boys basketball program to make it out of a sectional, Greenwood Christian set itself apart.

Best of all, an entire community rallied around the accomplishment, building up the Cougars’ fan support to numbers that surprised even Satre.

No one knows when Greenwood Christian Academy gets to again sample such euphoria. All of the Cougars’ fans are in agreement that the first time proved pretty special.

“It makes everyone even more hungry. It’s like a snowball effect, and people are saying, ‘Now it’s baseball’s turn to win (sectional)’ or ‘Now it’s volleyball’s turn to win one,’” Satre said.

“Seeing that type of school spirit is hopefully contagious. It’s kind of exciting.”

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