Old Colony boys basketball is playing well, but they are far from satisfied.
For the Cougars, the 2019-2020 year was going to present a challenge the program hadn’t dealt with over the last four seasons. That’s because the Cougars’ roster doesn’t feature Jake Jason for the first time since the Old Colony alum was in the eighth grade.
But the Cougars have responded well to his departure. JoJo Cortez and Hunter Soares were major contributors for Old Colony’s 2018-19 team and so far have taken charge of the team this year. As of now, the Cougars are 3-1 and have defeated Coyle Cassidy by over 40 points and Bristol-Plymouth 64-33 in their latest matchup, a game in which Cortez scored 21 and knocked down four 3-pointers.
“[JoJo] shot extremely well,” Old Colony coach Matt Trahan said about his point guard’s performance against the Craftsmen. “Our defense played well. We crashed the glass like we like too, and we got out on the run. We scored in bunches and played sound defense.”
However, Trahan and his players got together on the morning of New Year’s Eve. They wanted to tighten up a few things.
Even though they’ve won by significant margins, the Cougars identify there is plenty of room to improve.
“We’re playing well, the problem is there’s things within the game that need to be done in a cleaner fashion,” Trahan said. “We turned the ball far too much in our last game. It really kind of left a bad taste in my mouth.
“We’re just kind of holding the kids accountable for – yeah, great you won the game, but we’re still not playing to our ability, so we got back in the gym [Tuesday] and kind of corrected some things,” continued Trahan. “We certainly need to work on taking care of the ball and protecting the possessions.”
Part of what’s led to the Cougars’ turnovers has been the team’s unselfishness. Old Colony doesn’t solely rely on Soares or Cortez to provide the offense. Soares wasn’t even Old Colony’s second-highest scorer in the win over Bristol-Plymouth. (Jarrett Taylor scored 11 and Ryan Scott had eight).
But when the game is on the line or Old Colony’s opponent is taking control of the contest, the Cougars will need Cortez or Soares to take control.
“They’ve already proven to me that anybody at any time can take the ball and really make it happen. They’re really unselfish… It’s a fine line. You don’t want to be selfish, but there are times where they have to know, ‘I have to take it on my own,’” Trahan said. “ I think they know it’s going to be JoJo or Hunter who’s going to take that final shot.”
Unselfishness is not a problem that Trahan minds, though. Ultimately, that approach should make it easier for the Cougars to work toward their greater goal of being a more refined team by the end of the year.
“I’d say that we’re a very talented team that definitely has the ability to mature throughout the season and can certainly fill up the basket,” Trahan said. “But we need to do all those things that kind of make us – we want to play clean basketball. We’re not there yet.”
High School Sports Update
By Nick Friar