On Jan. 11, the Douglass Bulldogs boys basketball team defeated the visiting Chamois Pirates 56-49.
This was the most recent time the Bulldogs played a game within 50 miles of Columbia, but you won’t hear them complaining.
“I wouldn’t change the schedule at all,” sophomore Brandon Gleason said. “It can be tough, but at least we’re out there getting some recognition.”
The team’s success in two recent tournaments only added to its road-heavy game schedule.
The Bulldogs (12-6) advanced to the finals of the Keytesville Tournament, which was played from Jan. 22 to Jan. 27.
The following week they played three games in the Brashear Tournament.
“We kind of made it tougher on ourselves by going deep into the tournaments,” Gleason said. “That’s cool with us, though.”
These extra games reduced the number of off days.
“Whenever it’s not a game day for us, it’s a practice day,” Gleason said. “That’s all right, though. We’re just not used to winning like this.”
Most high school programs have eight scheduled home games, and those with adequate facilities sometimes get to host a tournament.
Douglass doesn’t have a gym large enough to host games. As a result, they have only six scheduled home games, which are held either at Smithton Middle School or Columbia College.
“It’d be nice to have a gym where you could have real home games and maybe even host a tournament,” coach Lynn Allen said. “I know the kids like to play in front of their friends, but that’s something we don’t really have any control over.”
The most difficult aspect of the steady stream of road games is the travel.
Since the team’s last home game, they have played in five different cities, traveling approximately 1,500 miles.
According to MapQuest.com, the team has spent 27 hours, 52 minutes on buses traveling to and from games during this stretch.
“The travel can really start to wear on you,” Allen said.
The bus rides also make it more difficult to stay ready to play emotionally.
“When we get ready to go, we’re all riled up and pumped to play,” Gleason said. “But then we have to sit on a bus for two hours. That can be tough.”
The Bulldogs won’t have this problem tonight, however, when they return home to play the New Bloomfield Wildcats (4-15) at Smithton.
“It’ll be nice not to have to sit on the bus,” said Gleason. “We’re playing on our home court, so we’re looking to get a lot of love from the fans.”
Allen expects to see a higher energy level from his players.
“I know they’re excited for this game,” he said. “I’m sure they are going to start out fast and furious.”
The Bulldogs’ homestand will be short-lived, however.
On Tuesday, they will travel to Independence to face the Van Horn Falcons.
Estimated travel time: 1 hour, 51 minutes.