To appreciate where something is you have to know where it was. And it wasn’t that long – just four years ago – that the Campus Community High athletic teams lost at a rate that’s unmatched in Delaware history.
Actually, we don’t know if that’s exactly true, since no records are kept of things like that and even if they are, we’re too lazy to look it up. But, trust us, no high school could ever have lost the way Campus Community lost when it first started playing sports at the high school level.
How bad was it? Well, at one point in the 2008 season the Cougars had played in 78 athletics events and won just one of them. OK, they did have four ties, which gave them a record 1-73-4. And the Cougars didn’t just lose in everything they played, they also lost badly. In soccer, they were 0-16 and outscored 62-3, getting shut out 11 times. In volleyball, they were 0-15 and outscored in games 45-2. And their girls’ basketball teams lost games by scores of 50-6, 44-4 and 61-3.
The boys’ basketball team also did its share of losing – the Cougars had a record of 1-23 in 2007-08, Mike Fabber’s first year as coach, after going 0-22 the previous two seasons.
So it’s hard to tell which is more noteworthy – that the Cougars managed to lose 73 times or that they managed to win once.
But that was then and this is now and the Cougars’ boys basketball team finished the 2011-12 season with a winning record (16-4) during the regular season and played in the state tournament, entering it as the 19th seed out of 24 teams. Granted, it wasn’t a long stay, as Campus Community lost its opening round game to No. 14 Salesianum 70-53 on Wednesday night. The Cougars were overmatched in this one. They trailed by just 8-4 early in the first quarter, but the Sals went on a 13-0 run to take a 21-4 lead and pretty much coasted home from there.
But just making it this far is a remarkable accomplishment for Fabber and his team and it’s no disgrace for a school with an enrollment of about 200 to lose to a school with an all-boys enrollment of about 1,000. And the Cougars’ success this season was no fluke – in the four seasons since that 1-23 debacle Campus Community has an overall record of 55-29.
Sadly, it will also be the Cougars’ last tournament appearance since the high school will close after this year. Campus Community has been using rent-free classroom space belonging to nearby Wesley College, but Wesley needs that space now and despite fund-raising efforts Campus Community doesn’t have the money to rent or build new facilities. So the high school will close and the students will scatter to other schools in the area.
At least the Cougars’ athletics programs are going out on a positive note, even with the lop-sided loss to Sallies. Athletic Director Bob Beron gave those programs direction and Fabber gave his basketball team discipline and Campus Community’s dramatic improvement is a credit to the job he and his assistants did with a low-profile, low-enrollment program.
And the kids who were part of that turnaround have something of which they can be proud. They not only built a winning tradition, they maintained it. When they walked off the court at Salesianum on Wednesday night the scoreboard said they were losers, but the Cougars and their supporters knew better.