The Columbus girls basketball team is coming off a Southern B divisional championship and State B tournament berth back in March. The Cougars bring back just two seniors, but their leadership has helped set the foundation for what the team hopes to accomplish.
“They put in a ton of work, and to their credit they’ve been really good about that. I don’t have to ask them to show up to open gyms anymore, they just show up. I don’t have to call," Columbus head coach Jeromey Burke said. "Part of that is due to our leadership at the top. We have seniors that are there every time. It’s a good way to set the tone for our younger girls, as well.”
Burke’s girls have learned from last season’s successful postseason run. Playing a more cohesive and united brand of basketball flipped the switch for the Cougars.
“We bond very well and we have a strong team," senior forward Liz Lorash said. "We hold each other accountable and we take constructive criticism very well and I think that helps with mistakes, and we build off our mistakes a lot.”
“Having them get along and play for one another, that was a huge part of last year, too, is that they saw that has a large effect on their ability to play well, is to actually enjoy each other and want to play for one another," Burke said.
The Cougars lost a pair of games to state tournament-caliber teams -- Forsyth and Glasgow -- at the Woodden Memorial Basketball Tournament in Red Lodge this past weekend, but that won’t disrupt their approach throughout the year.
“I want to have everyone make sure they’re held accountable for their mistakes, and I want to grow as a team. Build off of what we had last year and be the best team that we can be come tournaments," Lorash said.
Columbus will host Laurel on Thursday evening and travel to Shepherd on Saturday to wrap up its pre-holiday break schedule.