COVENTRY TWP. To say it’s been an uneven season for the Coventry Comets is a bit of an undersell.
With a roster almost entirely comprised of new faces, a 9-13 regular-season record has left the Comets celebrating big wins some nights and wondering how their new pieces are supposed to fit together on other nights.
Among the mishmash of wins and losses, promising signs have emerged and although the team’s leading scorer, senior Jaret Griffith, is a transfer playing his only season with Coventry, other players on the roster have flashed promise for future success with the Comets.
One of them, sophomore point guard Ronnie Thompson, highlighted what he can do in a 91-71 loss to Norton in mid-February.
In that contest, Thompson torched the Norton defense for a career-high 40 points, including six 3-pointers, scoring more than half of his team’s points.
“It just felt great and I felt like my teammates were doing a good job setting me up with open shots,” Thompson said. “I feel like coach (Mike) DiFalco has trust in me and puts me in a position to succeed.”
Thompson is charged with running the offense most of his time on the court, but as with any point guard who can shoot the ball well and create off the dribble, there are also opportunities for him to score. That means finding and maintaining the right balance between shooting and passing and for a young player, that can be tough to determine.
Thompson, who had never scored more than 33 points in a game before the Norton contest, says he tries to abide by a simple principle when it comes to making those decisions. He's the team's second-leading scorer at 13.3 points per game, leads the team with 1.6 steals per game and is shooting 42.5 percent from the field, including 30 percent from beyond the arc.
“I just take shots when I’m open and look to get my teammates involved as much as possible,” Thompson said.
The season has included highlights such as a sweep of the season series with arch rival Springfield, including a January road game in which the Comets trailed at halftime but buried seven 3-pointers in the second half to erase that deficit and emerge with a convincing win.
However, there have also been games like the 67-34 loss to Marlington that capped the regular season on a sour note and underscored how much further these young Comets have to go.
What gives Thompson hope is what he and the other underclassmen on the roster, such as forward LaNeer Surles, have built in the way of chemistry.
“I feel like we have a good connection and a lot of talent and a lot of this season has been prep for next year,” Thompson said. “It’s been really tough sometimes because most of us aren’t used to how each other plays yet.”
In the wake of his 40-point game, Thompson says he’s much more confident in his scoring ability and has tried to apply that confidence to how he approaches games going forward. Staying positive even in an up-and-down season is one of the toughest tasks for a young team, but as the year comes to a close, the task that falls to the squad’s juniors, sophomores and freshmen, along with the coaching staff, is to draw what positives they can from the year, internalize the lessons learned from the tough moments and apply all of that to their efforts going forward.
Sometimes, the best a team can ask for from a difficult season is clarity and experience and to find a way to channel those into a better future.
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