COLUMBUS — Disappointing.
That one word best defines the ending of last basketball season for the Columbus boys. The Cougars had hopes of a berth at the State B tournament, but went 0-2 at the Southern B divisional tournament.
“That wasn’t an easy one to swallow. I think they know that we play better basketball than the way we ended last year. I think that was more disappointing to them and kind of kept them hungry a little bit,” Columbus head coach Michael Robinson said.
That’s a feeling the Cougars don’t want to stomach again come March. Spending time in the gym during the offseason was step one in the right direction.
“It motivated us a lot. We were in the gym three times a week together as a team just putting up reps. We played in a bunch of tournaments together," senior guard Colby Martinez said. "We all just want it. We’ve sat down and talked about what we want this year and we’re going to try and achieve that.”
Columbus has a core group of four seniors that will carry the bulk of the offensive load this year, but look out for junior Michael Curl to provide an interior presence for the Cougars.
“Those four, they’re after it. I think their focus is great. Last year they got a ton of experience. We didn’t have older kids, bringing a bunch of people back. Even our sophomores are well ahead of the game right now," Robinson said. "Just (Curl's) ability to score is going to help us. Him and Hayden, a sophomore, he’s putting in a lot of work. He’s going to helps us a lot. He’s got a ways to go, but you can’t teach 6-6. Those two I think are going to be huge down low for us.”
“Huge impact. He’s put in a lot of work by the basket, he’s grown a little bit and he’s definitely one of our bigger players so he should get a lot of boards and put up some points this year," senior guard Cale Chamberlin said.
“It’s going to be nice actually having a big guy down there, instead of having to have me or (Kaden) Daniels down there,who is 6 foot, buck-70 at most," Martinez said. "It’s going to be nice to have that big body down there to help guard the big guys.”
Expectations in Columbus are high, and rightfully so. The Cougars get their season started on December 10 at the Wooden Tip-Off Tournament in Red Lodge.