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Mason encouraging G-K players during difficult stretch

January 30, 2012
Genoa-Kingston High School

GENOA – Genoa-Kingston girls basketball coach John Mason didn’t look frustrated.

Sure, his team committed 17 turnovers in the first half. It lost 49-28 to Burlington Central (10-13, 4-3 Big Northern Conference) on Saturday, the Cogs’ (7-12, 1-6 Big Northern) fifth straight loss.

But Mason said he isn’t a negative coach. He hasn’t resorted to yelling and screaming during his Hall of Fame career.

“That’s me. I’ve been this way for a long time,” Mason said. “What are you going to do, start beating people over the head? They don’t need that.”

Few teams may need positive encouragement as much as the Cogs.

The eight-player Genoa-Kingston team played its third game in three days after challenging conference-leader Richmond-Burton on Friday.

For a little while, Genoa-Kingston kept Saturday’s game close. Rachel Ellstrom and Andrea Strohmaier scored all of the Cogs points in the first quarter, and the Cogs trailed 13-8.

Then, the wheels came off.

Ellstrom’s free throw with 2:20 left in the half was all that kept the Cogs from going scoreless in the second quarter, and the turnovers mounted.

“Running down the court, I’m like, ‘Jeez, I’m already tired,’” Ellstrom said. “We don’t give up, we still try. But it was frustrating.”

The tired Cogs beat Burlington Central’s full-court press several times but couldn’t finish. By the end of the third quarter, the score was 38-16.

“We had the plan and everything set up to beat the press, which we did, but we didn’t get the ball in the basket,” Mason said. “When you don’t get the small round thing in the bigger round thing, you won’t beat anyone.”

But Mason stayed positive.

Genoa-Kingston rallied for a 12-point fourth quarter and cut the deficit to as few as 16. As long he sees effort, Mason is there for a pat on the back and a word of encouragement.

“He just stays positive with us. Even if we’re really down, he just stays positive,” Ellstrom said. “It makes us work harder. We know if we’re down and we’re losing by a lot, we’re not going to just give up. “

It’s been a rough few weeks for the Cogs.

But Mason’s team refuses to view things negatively.

“If anything, we’ve worked closer together last week because (eight players) is all we’ve got left,” Ellstrom said. “Working with just eight, it’s been positive.”

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