“I hope we can take that next step and bring in those caliber of players that can help us win a couple games at the national tournament,” Courtney said. “It’s just tough. I thought we could do some really good things with this year’s team. I’m proud of how tough my team fights, however. I hope to get better players next year and keep it rolling.”
And as Courtney found out last Tuesday when his Highland team was battling for its national tournament life in the game before the opening game for Indian Hills, several Warrior fans still pull for the former IHCC assistant coach. Cheers for the Cougars began to grow louder and louder in the second half as orange-clad fans from Illinois were joined by fans of the maroon-and-gold clad "Warrior Nation" that were arriving to the arena.
“I saw plenty of Indian Hills’ fans all week long who wished me good luck with my team in this tournament,” Courtney said. “When Grant started hitting 3-pointers in the second half, you could hear all the fans really starting to get behind us. It was great to experience.”
“I’ve got a lot of really good friends left in Ottumwa and at Indian Hills. I couldn’t be more grateful of all the support after all these years that I haven’t been there. Hopefully we’ll all see each other again back here next year.”
To follow Scott Jackson's Twitter feed, go to @CourierScott