After watching the junior varsity Cougar basketball team Friday night in their dominating 58-38 win over the Christiansburg Blue Demons, I couldn’t quit put my finger on the exact word I wanted to use to explain the difference between now and the past few seasons.
I finally settled for a word that is in common use today, but it took some looking to find the right definition.
According to one online dictionary, “Every man needs to have some sort of swagger to their demeanor. This is the mindset that separates the weak from the strong, that makes a man stand out from the crowd. When Darwin stated the human law of survival of the fittest, he intended to mean that the fittest must have a certain repertoire to them known as swagger.”
Why does this apply to the Cougar JV team this year?
Dominance is the first part. This team is now 15-4, they’ve won 6 games in a row, and have won 12 of their last 13 games. They’ve won the close games, they’ve won the blow outs.
Confidence is a must if you want to assert your dominance over the opponent. A weak man lacks the confidence to impose his will, when needed. Don’t confuse that with cocky though. Confidence is trusting in your hard work and abilities to pull you through tough times. Cocky could be defined as having a sense of entitlement, which has at times been an issue for many sports teams.
Style is another important factor, along with class. If you go out and dominate the opposition, but make yourself look like a fool doing so by being over boisterous, all your hard work goes out the window. You must be able to win or lose with style and class. You want to win, and you want to win in a way that leaves no doubt that you are the better player or team, but their has to be a certain amount of honor in the way you play.
All of these things have been coming through in the way that this team has played this season. To put it a little more simply, they play hard and are confident in themselves and their team mates. This team is fun to watch, and you want to root for them.
Friday night was a perfect example of the way the younger Cougars have played all season. They came out in the first quarter and took a quick 13-8 lead. In the second quarter they outscored Christiansburg 14-5 to take a 27-13 lead into the halftime break.
Christiansburg did outscore Pulaski County in the third quarter 14-13, but by this point Cougar coaches J.R. Montgomery and Jared King had already been rotating five at a time into the lineup, including six eighth graders who didn’t miss a beat. The third quarter ended with Pulaski leading comfortably 40-27.
Another push, this time with the middle schoolers mixed in with freshman and sophomore players at times, and the Cougars had outscored the Blue Demons 18-11 to earn their 58-38 win.
Bryant Grubb led all scorers with 22 points. Bradley Church followed him up with 11 points, and Kevin Smith added 6 points. Elliot Brewster and Brady Dickerson chipped in 4 points each, but both could have scored more had they not dished off the ball many times. CC Grubb, a Pulaski Middle School eighth grader and younger brother of Bryant, added 3 points. Sean Spencer, another Oriole, Jake Clary, Barron Blevins and Evan Austin added 2 points each.
Christiansburg was led by Alec Anderson with 10 points and Xavier Kane with 9 points.
The JV squad will play three remaining games next week, weather permitting. Monday they are scheduled to travel to Patrick Henry. Tuesday will find them playing the Salem Spartans in Salem, and then Thursday is scheduled to be on the road in Galax.