By Chuck Reherman
Where most teams in class A already have eight to 10 games under their belt after heading into the holiday break, Southwest Covenant will have to play catch-up beginning in January.
The Patriots took only a 3-1 record into the break with just a little over two weeks of practice behind them. When SWCS comes back from the break hosting Oklahoma Christian Academy on Jan. 7, turns around and heads to the Hammon Tournament on Jan. 9. Southwest Covenant will have a busy January, playing 12 games in the month.
SWCS has played only one regular season game (the Patriots took the runner-up title in the Minco Tournament for the season opener) and will face an old rival in Oklahoma Christian Academy when the team returns to the court.
The Patriots closed out the 2019 portion of the season with a 57-25 win over Little Axe on the road. The OCA game will actually be the Patriots’ home opener.
“That win over Little Axe was a good win for us to take into the break,” SWCS head coach Kevin Cobbs said. “They are a class 3A team and we played well. It was exactly the type of game we needed. A lot of times teams play to their level of competition and we played really, really well.
“In our first four games, we challenged the players to play the best game they could and they have given it to us,” he said. “We are so fundamental, this is one of the best starting fives I have had at Covenant. They are that good, they are smart and they play well together.”
The Patriots are not a big team, but they are quick on the court and have used that quickness to force turnovers and quick scores in transition. Guards Kirk Cole and Will Haas have led the team in scoring over the four games. Both have had a pair of 20-plus games games. Cole scored 22 in the last outing against Little Axe and had 24 in the win over Rush Springs. The pair have scored in double figures in all four games.
“Kirk is a player and the chemistry between he and Will is just so good,” Cobbs said. “They are jelling and they can go out and make plays. He is a good point guard and is settling in there well. And Will, he just goes out and makes plays and makes shots. They are a good one-two combination for us.”
Despite being only four games in, Cobbs is expecting his team to be more in mid-season form, especially starting the second half of the season.
And, so far, the Patriots have played like it.
“We told our players we had to be in mid-season form right off the bat because we start our season so late because of football,” Cobbs said. “Last year, we tried to ease our way into the season and by the time mid-season came around we looked like we had just started and that didn’t work out to well for us. This year, I told our guys we had to be I mid-season form when we step out onto the court and we have looked like it so far.
“We still have a long ways to go,” he said. “We brought the guys back the Friday after Christmas and we had some scrimmages lined up against some good teams. We scrimmaged teams like Capitol Hill and Thomas that is going to help us because a lot of teams we will be playing have already played eight to 10 games and we have played only four games. We will be the three-seed at Hammon and that is going to be a tough tournament.”