DallasShook – Editor in Chief
In basketball, adversity is the name of the game. More specifically, how a team responds to adversity is what can define a season. Feb 5 marked the last game of the season for the 2015-2016 Hooch boys basketball team, a team that has faced many ups and downs. Playing in the shadows of one of Chattahoochee’s best athletes ever, this inexperienced team worked its way to the top half of the region – just to fall down to sixth due to injuries that plagued the team. However, there is still hope for the season to reach its full potential, something that has this Cougars team digging deeper than ever.
Let’s start at the beginning: Hooch was not a favorite to contend for the title going into this season. With the departure of superstar Marcus Sheffield to Stanford, the team lacked a true identity, a true leader. Team Captain Alex Kladis (SR), however, thought of this as a positive, “We have so much talent spread out on this team that I think we would’ve been hurt by having that ‘one star player’ that we had last year. I see us as a team that is balanced and that balance is what makes us able to compete with other teams in the region.” This balance that Kladis speaks of is something the team needs to tap into in order to make an impactful run through the tournament.
Deshawn Roumou (SR), a newcomer to the team this year, has stood out as a star since his arrival to Chattahoochee this past year. His ability to drive to the paint and dribble through any obstacle has provided an indispensable new dimension to the team. A few weeks ago, DC – as his teammates call him – suffered a leg injury that put him on the bench. Despite fighting through the pain and returning to the starting lineup a week later, he reinjured the leg while driving to the hoop just a game later. “It’s rough,” stated Trevor Anderson (SR) – an explosive guard who has done a tremendous job filling in for his injured teammate – “seeing one of your best players injured. It can get demoralizing, because you feel cheated.” Regardless of any injuries to Roumou, the team has never doubted their leader’s dedication. “We know if he could be out there playing, then he would be out there playing,” Anderson expressed. While Roumou’s return to the lineup is still indefinite, the team is very optimistic that he will be on the court during playoffs. “DC could be missing a leg and he’d still try to go out there and play,” Kladis stated.
While many are demoralized by all the injuries the team has felt, the team still has a chance. The Cougars only have to finish in the top four of the regional tournament to move on to the state level. While Hooch’s fight against injuries has caused a slight drop in their regional rankings, the players aren’t concerned. Trevor Anderson’s thinking is very simple, “We don’t care about injuries, standings or anything else. We just want to be on the court.” Be sure to support the Cougars as the playoffs start this week.