The success of the Cougars basketball team this season is measured by more than just their record.
The Cougars are one of the youngest teams in the conference. The varsity roster carries seven freshmen — exactly half the team. Two sophomores, three juniors and two seniors round out the roster.
“We have many freshmen and sophomores playing big minutes for us,” senior Eric Roby said, “but we are improving every day.”
The Cougars are 11-12 overall with a 3-8 record in the Crossroads League.
“We have gotten better each week,” coach Jared Ronai agreed. “We focus on the process of daily improvement and want to become the best we are capable of becoming this year.”
Junior Josh Ashwill and sophomore Joey Schmitz are doing most of the ball handling for the Cougars.
Ashwill is averaging 12.1 points
per game and leading the team in rebounds (8.0 per game), steals and assists. He ranks second in Div. II with 152 totals assists so far this season.
Schmitz is averaging 12.8 points per game, and is leading the Cougars in
3-pointers with 56. Roby is the leading scorer, with 14.2 points per game.
In addition to these three returning players, many underclassmen are getting more time in the game.
Ronai said he sees a lot of potential in this young group and believes they are collectively growing in the right direction.
Jeremiah Roberts and Brett Vipperman are just two of the Cougars’ standout freshmen.
Vipperman averages 12
points per game and leads
the Cougars in blocks.
Roberts has been chipping
in with 8.5 points per
game. Junior transfer Cliff
Bussey is also making an
impression with 6.6 points per game.
Roby, who recently scored his 1,000th career point for MVNU, says is is looking to lead the team both on and off the court during the second half of the season.
“No matter what happens, the biggest question should be ‘Are
we becoming better men of Christ today?’” Roby said. “But it’s all about inspiring and guiding everyone toward the same common goal. We have set a high bar and believe in our ability to succeed.”
As the Cougars look forward to the latter half of their season, they are looking to be 1-0 each day.
“That’s our process driven mindset,” Ronai said. “If we focus on that mindset then we will continue to get better each and every day.”