ST. LOUIS — The McCluer High School varsity basketball team finally has the chance to take the court after months of waiting for approval from the Ferguson-Florissant School District board of directors.
The Comets opened their season on Thursday in a tough 84-76 loss to rival Jennings.
McCluer varsity basketball coach Gerald Fulton said it’s been a tough road to get to this point, but he wasn’t focused on basketball until this week.
“The most important thing was keeping them focused, and making sure they understood life,” Fulton said. “Because life comes before basketball. So like I said, this is an adjustment for everyone. We have kids at home that have to man themselves. They have to show discipline to get up and go to class. So that was really the tough part.”
McCluer was allowed to hold virtual basketball practices on Zoom over the past few months. Fulton would create at-home workouts where players could experience a team environment in the safest way possible.
The Comets were allowed to begin in-person practices at the high school in mid-January. Fulton said it was challenging to get the team up to game speed in just three weeks.
“Nobody was in shape,” Fulton said. “And to try to get some plays in with the newer guys, it was tough because a lot of the kids have never played varsity basketball. So to get them caught up to game speed, that’s difficult. You actually gotta be playing the game to understand the game speed. So it’s a lot of bumps in the road, but hey, no one’s gonna feel sorry for us.”
McCluer graduated nine seniors in 2020, which makes team chemistry more important than ever this year. Fulton said the focus will be building that chemistry as the season begins.
On Friday the Comets will face the Marquette Mustangs who are looking for their tenth win of the season.
The Mustangs have lost the past two games straight to Chaminade (73-58) and Eureka (57-47).
They have the chance to rebound tonight with help from across the roster.
Marquette senior forward Owen Marsh leads the team with 148 points this season, averaging more than nine points per game. Mustangs senior guard Hunter Hacala isn’t far behind with his 125 points this season.
McCluer will host Marquette on Friday night. Tipoff is at 6:30 p.m.