(Courtesy of Southwest Guilford’s men’s assistant basketball coach Greg Vlazny)
2015-2016 Southwest Guilford Cowboys Men’s Basketball Season Recap
The 2015-2016 Basketball Season started out strong for the Cowboys. A group of young men came together with the common goal of keeping the momentum from a successful summer campaign. These young Cowboys started to gel both on and off the court through different team functions; a team building trip down to Piney Lake of UNCG, Life Community Church allowing the boys to help in preparing food for over a group of 1000 people, the chance to deliver pumpkins to Covenant Methodist Church, and also the gracious offering of customized mouth pieces by Basil Orthodontics. It was experiences and opportunities to serve that really allowed this outstanding group of young men to connect with each other as well as the community headed into the basketball season.
A prosperous preseason gave the boys confidence heading into the regular season. To open up the year the Cowboys hosted Reagan High School, the team that Southwest knocked off to open up the season last year. It would be a repeat for the Cowboys as they handled the Raiders for a convincing victory at home. Four more victories in a row led up to a very physical challenge as they squared off against the Titans of West Forsyth. The Cowboys prevailed in overtime as they fought back in the waning seconds of regulation to force the extra period and pulled away for an 80-72 win at home. That come from behind victory seemed to glue the boys together as they started to fire on all cylinders as they cruised past the likes of Grimsley, Andrews, Page and Dudley. Headed into the Holiday Break the Cowboys were in a rhythm, the only thing that the boys seemed to disagree on was where to eat their pregame meals. Going into the Sheetz Holiday Classic the Cowboys were 10-0 and completely dismantled the opening rounds with victories of 51 and 50 respectively. The championship game was nearly as resounding with a 98-62 victory over North Surry to claim their 4th straight Sheetz Holiday Classic Title.
The Cowboys closed out the non-conference scheduled with another convincing win over Page. As Conference play loomed ahead of the Cowboys they became hungry to complete the task at hand. A win at Glenn High School, home victories over East Forsyth and Ragsdale led up to the first of what turned out to be 3 epic match-ups. Both the Cowboys and Vikings of Northwest were 3-0 headed into this late January match-up. Southwest managed to hold off the Vikings and leave Northwest with a tough road victory remaining perfect on the year overall and in Conference play. The Cowboys used this as a springboard and cruised past High Point Central and then began the second lap of Conference opponents. Convincing victories over Glenn at home, at Ragsdale and East Forsyth once again set the stage for Northwest.
It was Senior Night at the Ranch and the Cowboys came out cooking with Senior Orlando Smith scorching the nets in the opening frame. But by the end of the night the Cowboys weren’t able to hold on like the earlier match-up as the Vikings managed to knock off the Cowboys for their first conference loss in 2 years, and drop the two teams into a tie at the top of the Piedmont Triad 4A Conference.
The Cowboys regrouped to close out the regular season on the road for another convincing victory over the Bison of High Point Central to share the regular season Championship of the conference for the 4th consecutive season. The Cowboys are a resounding 57-9 in conference play over the last 6 seasons, holding the highest winning percentage.
As the post season play began the Cowboys looked to make a good push into March. In the Semifinals of the Conference tournament, the Cowboys ousted the hosting Eagles of East Forsyth to set up what would be a game for the ages against the Vikings once again. It was another back and forth battle that needed an extra session of overtime where the Vikings were able to make enough plays and down the Cowboys again handing them only their second loss on the season.
With the loss, the Cowboys lost the chance at being a high seed in the State Playoffs, and dropped down to the 11th seed. In the opening round of the State Playoffs the Cowboys played hosts to the Mustangs of Myers Park. This opening round had been the Achilles heel as of late for the Cowboys who had been tripped up each of the last 4 seasons. This close-knit group bonded together for a convincing 21 point victory at home final got the Cowboys into the second round for the first time since the 2012-2013 season. Southwest earned a trip out to Alexander Central High School to square off against the #6 Seeded Cougars. This 21 win team dominated their conference and the Cowboys needed to bring their A game to advance past the second round for the first time in school history since 1996. These young boys did more than that. After allowing the game’s opening 4 points, the Cowboys absolutely blitzed the Cougars. The high light of the night was the Cowboys only allowing 1 field goal and a total of 4 points in the second half as the Cowboys crushed the Cougars for a 65-22 second round victory.
The third round of the State Playoffs would provide far more drama. The Cowboys hosted the Patriots of Independence High School. In another dogfight of a game, the Cowboys were faced with a similar situation as the West Forsyth game all those months ago. Getting down with under a minute to play allowed the Cowboys to show their integrity as a team as they used their staple pressure defense to force numerous turnovers in the closing seconds to complete the dramatic comeback to pull out a very intense and entertaining victory to win the Sectional Championship.
The fourth round of the playoffs had the Cowboys hit the road for the Regional Semifinals against the Cougars of Charlotte Catholic. Once again it was a dogfight with each team trading runs. This time however the Cowboys weren’t able to reclaim the lead in the closing minutes as the very successful season of the Cowboys came to a close in Charlotte as they dropped to the eventual Western Regional Champion Charlotte Catholic. The Cowboys closed the season out with an overall record of 27-3.
This was the most successful season for Southwest since the dream season of 1996. These Cowboys proved that there is a lot of good basketball ahead for the school. This was a great group of young men on and off the court that the coaches, parents, school, and players should be proud to look back on in the years to come