It might sound cliché and a bit hackneyed, but losing often constructs the platform for winning. Of course, you need something to place underneath this platform. One San Antonio, Texas boys basketball team with ties to the military seems to be the perfect fit.
The 2020-2021 version of the Cole High School boys basketball team experienced some losses this past season, albeit very little, but also felt some “loss” topped off by challenges.
“What was special was how hard we worked and how well we were able to adapt to unforgiving circumstances that were presented to us in the last month of our season,” wrote junior Trey Blackmore in an email.
The Cougars, who posted 27 wins against five losses in 2021, played three playoff games in one week, Blackmore said, adding that the team only had one day to prepare for a state semi-final game. The team’s ability to adjust paid off. They were able to rally around adversity and extend the season.
“Really proud of our guys all year for their work ethic and determination,” said head coach Noe Cantu in an email. “This is definitely one of the hardest working teams I’ve ever coached.”
The boys’ hoops program at Cole has some historical hardwood cred too. NBA legend, Shaquille O’Neal, led the Cougar squad to a 36-0 record and1989 state title, and incidentally, it was the school’s first team state championship.
Another interesting note is the school and its district — the Fort Sam Houston Independent School District (FSHISD) — literally stand in the proud shadow of the U.S. Army. According to the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB), the FSHISD’s enrollment territory exclusively comprises the Fort Sam Houston Army Post and Camp Bullis. The public school district educates the children of active military personnel who live on the Army installations.
“We certainly do embody a lot of the characteristics that the military has with hard work, attitude and integrity and discipline…we try to incorporate all of that also into our athletic program,” said Tina Guerrero, Cole High School athletic director.
In recent times, dominating seasons didn’t find a championship end result. A 34-win season in 2019 fell short, and a stellar 33-6 2020 season was abruptly truncated due to the ensuing pandemic.
“We felt we were going to win the championship last year before the state championship game was canceled due to Covid,” Cantu said. “Then with the departure of our top two players from last year, I feel our players, coaches, and program were highly motivated to prove to people how good we really were.”
The players’ resiliency prompted them to rebound with a something-to-prove mentality that brought a satisfying closure to 2020 and 2021.
“I knew before the season began that we were going to compete for a state championship,” said junior Silas Livingston via email. “Me along with the guys on the team knew what it took to get where we wanted from previous years and we really did a good job of taking advantage of our experience and chemistry.”
The team earned huge returns from its commitment investment during the previous seasons. The Cougars took home a state title in March, prevailing against the Tatum Eagles 77-60 in the UIL 3A state final.
”We felt that our hard work from the past couple years led us to finally claim a state title,” Blackmore said.Read comments