Monroe Central's Combs has last shot

Monroe Central's Combs has last shot


Monroe Central's Combs has last shot


Monroe Central's Beau Combs shoots past the defense in a game last season.

Monroe Central’s Beau Combs shoots past the defense in a game last season.

PARKER CITY — When the lights on the gridiron powered down for the final time, it wasn’t lights out for Beau Combs.

The Monroe Central senior scored five touchdowns, made 85 tackles and intercepted four passes for the Golden Bears during football season. When his team fell to Adams Central in the sectional championship, they walked off the field in unison, the last time many of them would don a brown and gold uniform.

Combs wasn’t one of them.

Just days later, he was in the Monroe Central gym, running through basketball drills. For the multi-sport athlete, there’s no such thing as time off.

Not when a run at a Mid-Eastern Conference title is at hand.

Monroe Central finished 5-2 in the MEC last season, not far behind conference-winning Wapahani (7-0). In a matchup last season between the two teams that could have decided the winner of the conference, Combs went just 1 of 10 shooting, and Wapahani won 54-37.

Not again, not this season.

“We’re fast, athletic, we have size and now we can put it all together,” Combs said. “It’s going to be a good season.”

Combs didn’t pick up basketball until he was a freshman. He spent years watching his older brother play but was more focused on football to seriously considering switching out his cleats and shoulder pads for sneakers and shorts.

He said football is his first love, but basketball has grown on him and now he’s ready to be one of two seniors Monroe Central coach Justin Ullom says will lead the team this season. He and Jansen Blevins will take the reins and help guide the younger players.

“Both guys have played a lot of varsity basketball,” Ullom said. “We’re pretty strong, but we’ve also got a junior, Dustin Brown, who doesn’t let us get away with anything.”

Last season was Ullom’s first, and he said at this time last year, he was just trying to get to know all his players, including Combs. After a season of working together, both are more relaxed.

“It’s hard on everyone to get used to a new coach,” Combs said. “But we all know what his mindset is. He wants the best for us. We’re going to buy into his system and it’s going to produce results.”

Ullom said he wants the team to play through the 6-foot-4 junior Brown and open up space for his shooters on the outside.

One of the most promising players the Golden Bears return is the shifty Israel Nash, a sophomore who averaged 11 points per game last season and exploded in the first postseason game of his career, pouring in 32 points in a win over Southern Wells.

There should be no shortage of offense. The question Ullom posed was whether or not they’ll be strong enough on defense.

“We finally started playing defense at the level we wanted to in the last month of last season,” Ullom said. “It took a while to get there, but we started playing how we need to in order to compete for a conference championship and more.”

And that conference championship is now or never for Combs.

Contact prep sports reporter David Polaski at (765) 213-5848. Follow him on Twitter @DavidPolaskiTSP.


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