2016-12-08 / Sports

After winless season, St. Mary starts 1-0

Clint Couturier refused to let last year’s 0-19 campaign take a toll on his players.

“They were kind of carrying last year around with them,” Couturier said of the St. Mary boys. “We keep telling them: You are not ‘last year.’ You’ve worked really hard. You’ve changed.”

The Eagles proved it on Monday.

Harrison Schaub scored 16 points, Ryan Popp added 12 and the St. Mary boys began the 2016-17 season with a 46-24 home win over the Traverse City Bulldog Athletic Association.

“It was tough, but the kids never gave up,” Couturier said of last season. “They gave everything they had and realized we had a lot of things to improve on. They looked at me and said, ‘We’re not going to go through this again,’ and they were true to their word. It was tough, but sometimes you go through tough times to get to better times — and that’s what they did.”

They got it done with defense, converting 26 turnovers into 27 points and limiting the Bulldogs to four points in the first and fourth quarters.

Despite shooting 30 percent from the field, the Eagles were much improved offensively.

Popp, for example, was lights out from long range, shooting 4-of-7 from the 3-point line.

“Ryan put the time in,” Couturier said.

The team will look for a 2-0 start tonight when it crosses M-204 for a showdown at Leland (0-1).

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