By HANK MINCKIEWICZ
Unselfishness is often a hallmark of a great team and coach Eugene Kolbusz’s Anderson Titans are certainly an unselfish bunch.
“These guys really don’t seem to care who scores,” Kolbusz said. “They want to win games.”
And during this COVID-shortened and interrupted season, the Titans have done plenty of winning. Anderson played just 12 games this regular season, but won nine of them. Six of the wins have been by six points or less, two are by two points and another came by a single point.
“Yeah, we just don’t know how to blow anybody out,” joked Kolbusz.
The truth is, winning close games is not always easy and the Titans have kind of made it an art form. Kolbusz attributes his team’s close-game success to the fact that seven of his players are returnees and they know just what to do.
“I often don’t even call a timeout at the end of the game to set things up,” the Southgate coach said. “I just tell’em, ‘go, run it,’ and they know what to do.
“By letting them play, it keeps everyone from tensing up and by not calling timeout, it gives our guys a great sense of confidence.”
A perfect example came at the end of Anderson’s last game, a 64-62 overtime win over Carlson. In the closing seconds of the extra period, Carlson made one of two free throws to tie the game. Anderson rebounded the miss, pushed the ball up the floor and ran its offense to perfection, which resulted in the game-winning basket.
“Daveon (Jones) had a monster game against Carlson,” said Kolbusz. “It was like having Shaquille O’Neal. We rebounded the missed free throw, pushed the ball up the court and dumped the ball into Daveon. Carlson doubled teamed, as we knew they would, and Daveon kicked the ball back to Jake Peer at the elbow and he made the easy basket for the win. It was perfect and the kids ran it because they know the system by heart. It’s pounded into them.”
Over the course of this season, Anderson has several contests like the Carlson game. The Titans beat Roosevelt 49-45 and 53-52; they beat Carlson 64-62 (OT) and 47-44; and they beat Allen Park 64-62 and 40-34.
“These guys know our system so well, they could coach it,” said Kolbusz. “In fact, we’ve got two freshmen and a sophomore up on the varsity and you can see the juniors and seniors teaching them. It’s pretty great.
“We talk about scenarios all the time; where to go, what to do, what happens when the other team reacts a certain way. Everyone has put in the work and it shows.”
Anderson’s last game of the regular season was the Carlson game as it was discovered afterward that a Carlson player tested positive for COVID-19. That sent the Titans into a two-week quarantine and shutdown and cost the club games against Taylor, Edsel Ford and Dearborn Heights Annapolis.
The Titans head into the Michigan High School Athletic Association District Tournament with a 9-3 record and riding a four-game winning streak.
In their first game of the tournament the Titans will play the winner of the Lincoln Park-Allen Park game.
The Titans have already beaten both the Railsplitters and the Jaguars, but Kolbusz isn’t counting his chickens.
“I keep telling the kids, it doesn’t matter how many times you’ve beaten a team, the only thing that matters is this game,” he said