Trojans can teach us all a lesson about teamwork

Monday, March 15, 2004

No matter how often we see the magic of teamwork, we are still enchanted by the outstanding accomplishments of those who work together for a common cause.

And so it was this past weekend as we joined in celebrating the Cambridge High School Trojans' march to the 2004 Nebraska Class C-2 boys state basketball championship.

This year's Trojans are talented ... no question about it. But other teams were talented, too. What lifted the Cambridge team above the pack was how the players worked together.

"One game a player would score 18, and the next game 5. But that didn't matter to these guys. They were a team and it was the final outcome that mattered," said Cambridge's long-time coach, Del Schoenfish.

The surprising thing was that the Trojans didn't talk much about teamwork. They just did it, doing what was necessary on the floor to achieve victory.

Looking back on the 26 win, one loss season, Coach Schoenfish said the turning point came the only time the Trojans tasted defeat. After falling to Quinter, a Kansas powerhouse, that later went on to win the Class 2A Kansas tournament, the Cambridge players and Schoenfish got together and decided they would be facing a number of top-notch players throughout the season, because -- as the coach pointed out -- "every good team has one."

To rise to the star player challenge, the Trojans decided they must all do they could to contain the other team's top scorer, but, more important, they decided that every team member would have to contribute to offset the excellence of the opposing team's star.

The team approach worked throughout the season ... but never better than at the state tournament, where the Trojans used late game surges to defeat Sutton, 54-47; Ravenna, 77-62; and Louisville, 58-50.

"We were within two minutes of being knocked out in that first game," Schoenfish said, but the Trojans rallied to stay alive and went on to win the championship.

In the end -- after overcoming Joe Jackson, Jr. and the Louisville Lions for the title -- the Trojans were not jumping up and down for joy as you might expect. They were happy and they were hugging, but Coach Schoenfish said they were too emotionally drained to explode with excitement. "You have to remember, they had three intense games within a 40-hour period."

Congratulations, Trojan players and Coach Schoenfish, for an outstanding season. And, thanks, too, for teaching us a lesson about teamwork. As you have shown us so dramatically , by working together we can accomplish amazing things.

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