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They were at Starkville Christian School before there were Cougars.
The SCS basketball seniors, who take the home floor for the final time tonight against Kemper Academy, have been vital to the progress of the program.
Caleb Jordan, Chris Horstemeyer and Benjamin Jamerson are the senior Cougars, while Sydney Whitehead, Rachel Bowman, Mallory Horstemeyer and Laken Buckner are the senior Lady Cougars.
"They've been here my whole time here and they've been here for pretty much the whole time the school program has been here," SCS boys coach Alex Thompson said of his players. "To see where they started to where they've come now is really special and I'm glad to be a part of that with them."
Thompson said the versatility of Chris Horstemeyer and Jamerson have been valuable to the team.
Whether it has been Horstemeyer at the No. 1 or No. 3 positions, or Jamerson at anywhere from No. 3 to No. 5, they have contributed in their own way to the Cougars.
"Whatever we ask of (Horstemeyer), we know he will go in there and give us all he has," Thompson said. "That's one thing we are sure about when we put him in.
"(Jamerson is) the guy that's out there going after every loose basketball. You don't have to worry about him too much when we put him out there because he'll do what he's supposed to do."
The things that Horstemeyer and Jamerson don't always show up in the score book, but what Jordan provides in the way of points is hard to miss.
Thompson said Jordan has helped SCS in so many ways.
"If you look back at the scoreboard, (Jordan's) name will be at the top just about every time this year," Thompson said. "It's not just his scoring, but the way he plays on defense. He leads when he is on the court and even when he's on the bench. It's good to have him on the team.
"We get it out of Ben and Chris too. The three of them may not be the leading scorers every night, but when we come in, we know they will be the leaders of the team."
As far as the Lady Cougar seniors, girls coach Luke Buckner have watched them improved during the course of the season.
Whitehead was injured for part of the year, but that did not stop her from being a leader.
"Even when she was hurt, she remained the backbone of the team," Buckner said. "She's very valuable. She may not provide the most scoring, but she holds the team together."
Coach Buckner also appreciates the contributions of Bowman, Mallory Horstemeyer and Laken Buckner.
"This is really their first year to play basketball and they've made such great improvement and it has been a pleasure coaching them," coach Buckner said.
The junior varsity games begin at 4 p.m. with senior night activities prior to the varsity action at approximately 6 p.m. for the girls and 7:30 p.m. for the boys.View more articles in: