Eagles supporters have become accustomed to watching a core group of sharp shooting, intelligent, hard nosed kids lead our team to success against very impressive competition. Matt Miller and Austin Crown carried the scoring load for four seasons, tallying over 6,000 combined career points to lead the Eagles to two top ten national finishes and first and second place finishes in the southeast regional homeschool championship tournaments. Dominic Brown and Paul Jones also made major contributions during the team’s multi year run.
Since the graduation of this impressive foursome, Eagles watchers have wondered whether the 2013-2014 Eagles will continue to progress. The questions are fair because the team’s schedule, which consists of the southeast’s best prep school and private school teams and the nation’s top homeschool programs, is very demanding. And without Crown and Miller’s reliable 50-60 points per game, it is difficult to understand how the Eagles will compete with many of the post graduate teams on the schedule.
But as I explained to the current Eagles in last Saturday’s Fall League match up against ABR Open SC, a team that compares well with the highly talented teams on the Eagles’ schedule, our “old group” did not develop overnight. Instead it began as a group that could not compete with our area’s junior varsity teams, let alone the best high school and post-graduate teams in the region. And by embracing one “impossible” experience at a time, that group was able to find ways to compete against all comers. And the “new group” began that journey Saturday.
The ABR Open SC team, which features the best high school players from the South Carolina portion of our area, is very talented. After falling behind by a significant margin, the Eagles were led back into contention by Daquarius Johnson, Jaylan Robinson, Sam Cubertson, Matt Kelly, and others brand new to the program. The grit that this group displayed in narrowing the deficit with minutes remaining before losing 66-60 serves as step one in this new group’s quest to figure out how to do seemingly impossible things by working together, never giving up, and consistently expending an extraordinary amount of effort. And this group continued its progress Thursday during its opening round Fall League tournament win over Supersonic.
Below is a look at the portion of the Eagles schedule that features post graduate teams. The 2012-2013 team, the program’s best yet, lost all 11 of its games versus such teams. Going from being competitive with these teams to beating them will be a difficult task. I am eager to watch our new group demonstrate how such a journey will be successfully completed.