By Barney Blakeney
Feb. 17 marked the end of a spectacular season for the North Charleston High Cougar basketball team. The Cougars fell to Kingstree High in the second round of the S.C. State AA playoffs, finishing 18-5 on the season.
However, Coach Christopher Brown, in his third year with the Cougars, considers the season a championship year. He started the season with 58 students trying to make his varsity team. Ten were successful.
Another 15 made the junior varsity squad. With so much enthusiasm fueling the team, Brown’s five senior starters complimented by four sophomores and a prolific 3-point freshman shooting guard, Brown feels confident the team will go further next year. In only the past two seasons the team has moved up from last place in the region. This season was their first playoff appearance since 2012.
Brown’s Cougars are primed for success, he said. They dress, look and think successful. North Charleston attorney David Yarborough believes in them and supports the team in ways that help them build confidence, Brown said. Yarborough’s contributions make it possible for the team to wear coats and ties for road games and excursions beyond the community.
“Attorney Yarborough believed in me and my kids,” Brown confided. “His firm stepped up and helped us fulfill the dreams of many of our kids. Most of our kids had never attended real summer camps or traveled outside of North Charleston. His firm made it all possible. He was there for us from day one and continues to support our kids and the vision I have for the program.”
It’s a shared vision. Brown has lots of help. Assistant Coach Tomelex Copeland, a pastor at Seacoast Church, guides the JV program and provides the compassion the players need. Brown describes Copeland as a strong individual with the ability to lead the young men down the right path. Additionally, “Coach Michael Gilbert is my old coach from my playing days in Sumter. I ran into him two years ago in a store while shopping and asked him what he was doing in Charleston. He said he was retired. I asked him to come over and help our young men. He’s been here every day since.”
All the support is paying off. Seniors Charles Hayward and Desmond Glover signed letters of intent to play basketball at Morris College and Daquan Carswell currently is deciding among Francis Marion University, Coker College, and Bob Jones University. Season accomplishments include becoming Region 6 2AA Champions, sophomore Darjawuan Brown was named Regional Co-Player of the year, Desmond Glover, Darjawuan Brown, Daquan Carswell, and Marquez Terry were named All-Region players and Brown was named Region Coach of the year.
But of course, the primary reason they’re in school is to get an education. Brown has engaged English teacher, Victoria Carle as academic advisor. She conducts study hall and works with the players to make sure they have what they need to meet NCAA and university requirements. She meets with parents and sets goals for each student. With all that going for them, Brown says his team has all the tools they need to compete next year.