ALEXANDRIA – Coming into this season, Josh Feldmann needed eight wins to get to the 100-win mark for his career at Bishop Brossart High School.
Barring a really sub-par season, the Mustangs girls basketball program was going to give him that milestone at some point this year, but considering his team is relying on a mostly new set of contributors this season, Feldmann is pleased at how soon he reached that plateau.
On a night in which Newport High School retired the jerseys of two of its legends, Feldmann made a little history of his own Jan. 8, leading Brossart to a 49-35 win over the host Wildcats. Brossart improved to 8-7, and Feldmann to 100-42 in his fifth season. He averaged 23 wins his first four years on the bench.
“It shows how hard the kids have worked over the years, that we’ve done it in less than five years,” he said. “It shows how hard the kids have worked and bought into what we want to do. It’s gratifying and it shows what we’re trying to do at Brossart. It’s exciting.”
Brossart went 22-7 last year and was 37th District champions, but graduated five seniors who scored more than 3,000 total points and were most of the key contributors.
This season, the Mustangs have picked up some key wins against bigger schools Dixie Heights, Conner and district foe Campbell County. Feldmann’s 99th win was on Jan. 6, 55-49, against preseason Ninth Region favorite Holy Cross. Brossart started 1-4 and is 7-3 since.
“I knew when we started the year it would be a process, there would be peaks and volleys,” Feldmann said. “We’ve played so many close games, four overtime games already. We’re 2-2 in those, but the losses we took early helped in our maturation. They don’t panic when they get down or in tight situations because they have been through so many of those situations already.”
The recent win over Campbell, 45-44 Jan. 2, was an example of the Mustangs rallying to take a big game, as it is not only the annual rivalry contest, but a key seeding game in the 37th District. Brossart had already lost to Scott this season in district play.
“It takes time to jell and find out who will play and you can’t do that in the summer,” Feldmann said. “It takes the heat of competition to show what you’re made of.”
Leading the transition this year has been junior center Emily Schultz, who is having an outstanding start to the year, averaging 20 points and 10 rebounds a game.
“Emily has been very special and she’s one of the better post players in the region,” Feldmann said. “She is the straw that stirs the drink but a lot of the other kids bring something to the table in ballhandling, defense, shooting. It’s a whole combination.”
Junior forward Abby King has been a key frontcourt presence, and junior Olivia Nienaber has been strong in taking over at point guard, the coach said. This year’s senior group of Rachel Blank, Jordyn Boesch and Liz Buckingham have shown strong leadership.
The Mustangs didn’t have much time to focus on past milestones as they chased their next goal: Winning the 10th Region All “A” Classic. Brossart beat Nicholas County for Feldmann’s 101st win Jan. 10 and the Mustangs are hoping to trek to Robertson County two more times for the title, with the final being Saturday, Jan. 17. Brossart was the preseason pick to win the region in the All “A.”
“With our kids we preach that our goals don’t change,” he said. “The perception is that we’re down but we have to focus on what’s in front of us. We feel we can compete in the region. It will be a tall order for us and hopefully these younger kids have learned. Our goal is to win in again, go down to Frankfort and experience that thrill for those kids again, then come back and compete at the district level.”
Follow James Weber on Twitter, @JWeberSports