Brown County High School boys basketball players don’t care how well a teammate can perform on his own. If the team doesn’t win, there is no personal victory.

Even when senior Jordan Samples scored a season-high 24 points in a 67-56 win against Daleville on Dec. 29, there was no bragging from him, senior Eli Patterson said.

For the Eagles, everything comes back to the team.

“That’s just one thing that I think that we’ve got that no one else does,” Patterson said.

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“If you don’t play like a team, you don’t win,” he said. “One person can’t beat five people.”

His teammates agreed: When they play, it’s for the team, and for love of the game.

“It’s just a fun team to be around,” junior Ezra Scully said. “In 50 years, I’m going to have a lot of good memories of this team.”

Senior David Norman agreed. “We might not remember a certain game we played, but we’re going to remember the team.”

Rebuilding

Four members of the team played varsity last year — Samples, Josh Cochran, Hunter First and David Norman.Others dressed but never made it onto the court.

After seven seniors graduated last year, head coach Chuck Hutchins knew this would be a rebuilding year.

“We have started playing better than I anticipated,” he said.

Though they have a 3-8 record, the team has consistently scrapped to the end of even the toughest games, and the boys continue to grow, he said.

“It’s tough to do that through losses sometimes, but I think that we’re going to,” he said. “We have a tight-knit group of kids who stick together, and it’s gonna happen.”

In mid-December, the team faced a Cloverdale player who averages around 36 points a game. The Eagles held him to 16.

Though Brown County lost that game 67-51, Hutchins said he was pleased with the team’s determination.

“I liked our fire and ability to just fight to the buzzer,” he said.

“One of the positive things with this group is, I can point to almost any game on our schedule and know that we’ve got a real shot,” Hutchins said. “And I know that they’re going to scrap and fight.”

Second half

The Eagles have often been within striking distance of games that ended in losses, senior Blake Hudson said.Where things seem to fall apart is in the second half — especially in the final quarter.

Patterson called it the “second-half curse.” But there’s not much mystery behind it.

Too often, players begin to lose their patience near the end, he said. “Once the second half gets started and we start making mistakes, we target each other.”

Scully said they are gradually getting better at remembering the repeated advice of Hutchins: “If we lose, you look in the mirror and say, ‘What did I do that could’ve helped us win?’” Scully said.

“But when we do win, you look out the window, and you look at your other players, and you praise them instead of praising yourself.”

Hudson said that the further into the season they get, the better the team gels. Their record alone doesn’t show what they know they are capable of.

“There is nobody in our sectional that’s not determined to win. We’re all going to fight for it,” Samples said.

“In the second half of the season, I think we’re going to show them.”

Eagles boys basketball

Seniors: Jordan Samples, Eli Patterson, David Norman, Blake Hudson, Hunter First, Josh Cochran

Juniors: Isaiah Keefauver, Seth Matlock, Ezra Scully

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Ben Kibbey is a Brown County transplant from the cornfields of central Ohio. He covers county government, business, outdoors, sports and general news.