When you look at the Climax Springs bench during a girls basketball game, you’ll notice a lot of empty seats.
That’s because the Cougars only have seven players on their roster.
“I talk to my coaching friends and I say ‘hey, what drills can we run with seven kids?’ They say ‘oh I don’t know coach, good luck,’” said Climax Springs Head Coach Ron Rhodes.
What the team lacks in numbers, it makes up for in effort.
“Out of all the practices we’ve had so far this year, not one kid has missed one practice,” Rhodes said.
Two years ago there were no practices to miss because Climax Springs did not have a girls basketball season.
That forced the team’s only juniors, Cierra Dake and Skylar Austin, to play for the boys team as freshmen.
“I was nervous because I never played with the boys before, but I took it as a challenge and we just headed for it,” Dake Said.
“At first I was pretty excited, until I came to practice and then it got pretty scary,” Austin said.
After a year of playing with the boys, Dake and Austin moved back to the girls team last season.
That’s when the team struggled to a 3-19 record.
But this year it’s been different.
“First summer league game, one of my girls, my captain Cierra Dake, we sat down at halftime and we were up 13-12 and she goes ‘Coach, look we’re competing’,” Rhodes said.
They’re not just competing, but they’re winning.
This year, the Cougars topped last season’s win total by the end of November.
“We’ve actually not looked at the downfalls of things and started looking at the positive of things we’ve fixed and that’s made us become one as a team instead of our individual selves playing,” Dake said.
The Cougars even found their way into the Class 1 top 10 rankings in early December.
“They’re excited, the school’s excited. The community’s excited because they know we’re putting a good product out there every night,” Rhodes said.
It’s showing the Cougars have unlimited potential despite their limited roster.
“I’ll take these 7 kids any time, any day,” Rhodes said.
If those seven keep playing so well, it might be tough convincing other teams to play them any time, any day.