From his days coaching basketball at Mendon, Glen Oaks Community College and now Constantine, Chuck Frisbie has seen just about everything in 13 seasons pacing the sideline.
Especially after this trying year.
Frisbie, who took over the Falcons’ boys program this year, had never gone through a losing streak like the 17-game, season-long skid this season, which ended Tuesday when Constantine thumped White Pigeon 50-28 to get off the schneid.
“I don’t sleep,” he said. “Honestly, I don’t give up. Anybody who knows me … I don’t give a crap what I’m playing even if it’s checkers. If I get beat, next game I’m going to beat you. You’ve just got to try to instill that in kids. We’re going to keep competing and I’m not going to chew you unless you deserve it. I think I’m a pretty positive guy. I’ve never been through anything quite like this. Believe me, it hasn’t been fun for any of us.”
Constantine players not only kept their heads up, they truly felt they were a game away from turning the season around. As was noted in Tuesday’s game story, the Falcons were only down four points in the fourth quarter in 14 of those 17 losses.
So they did the only thing they knew to do, which was to spend endless hours on their own time putting in work after practice — to the point Frisbie had to kick them out of the gym on several occasions.
“The kids never quit working.,” Frisbie said “They know when they’ve done something wrong. Some of them have been a little more stubborn than others to take the role they’re supposed to, but I think it’s starting to finally get through.
“That’s the part I’m probably proudest of — our kids haven’t quite. They love basketball. When we had a stretch of five games in eight days, I had to literally take the ball out of their hands and tell them to go home.”
In a competitive league such as the Kalamazoo Valley Association, Frisbie said nobody is going to feel sorry for you. He certainly didn’t have to worry about his guys feeling sorry for themselves.
Along with the team’s improvement on both ends of the floor and the fact that everyone except for senior Luhk Mullendore returns next year, a solid junior varsity team should provide reinforcements next year.
“We’re young. We have one sophomore and one senior on the team,” Frisbie said. “We kept saying at the end of this year and next year we’re going to be better. I think the kids have bought into that and they’re still working hard. I think I’m more proud of that than anything.”
This year, however, isn’t over. A trip to Maple Valley Thursday ends the regular season before a date with KVA foe Schoolcraft in Class C district play next week at Constantine.
The Eagles won the KVA title with a 14-3 record and beat Constantine twice. The Falcons fell 68-44 on Feb. 21 and 52-42 on Jan. 17.
“We’ve played Schoolcraft eight quarters and we’ve won four of those quarters,” Frisbie said. “Now, the four we’ve won have been close. They’ve killed us the other four. We have to learn to be patient, keep fighting and doing the right thing all the time. When our guards get sped up is when we get in trouble. When they’re under control, just making good passes and doing the right thing, we can compete with anybody.
“I was proud that everybody kept saying, ‘Hey, your kids work hard.’ They truly did. There wasn’t a game where we just gave up, and I think that says a lot about them. Their love of basketball shows through.”