KOUTS | It was a night that was all about Marty Gaff, but the longtime Kouts coach was simply focused on his players.
It’s been that way for the last 30 years.
Gaff coached his final regular-season game on Friday night and won his ninth Porter County Conference title as Times No. 10 Kouts knocked off LaCrosse 88-45.
“This was a good win for us and I’m awfully proud of these guys to win three conference titles in a row,” Gaff said. “That’s quite an accomplishment for this group.”
The evening started with a tribute to the three seniors on the Kouts roster, but moved to a ceremony honoring Gaff and his contributions to the community. Alums from the last 30 years were in attendance and when direction was given for anyone in the gym who had Gaff as a teacher or coach to stand, a majority of the crowd rose to their feet.
“This community has been so good to me and to be honored in that way, it’s hard for me not to be a little emotional about it,” Gaff said.
The outcome was never in question after the first quarter as senior Andrew Birky scored 12 of his 16 points in the first half. Cody Nelson scored eight points in the first quarter and then scored 13 straight points in the third quarter and finished with a career-high 28 points.
“This is a special night,” Nelson said. “It just means so much to win this game for coach, to win the conference for these seniors. This was an important game for us.”
Max Everaert added 17 points for the Mustangs (19-2, 7-0) while Austin McNeill had four points and four rebounds in his final regular-season game. Senior Nick Taylor added a game-high seven assists and three points.
“Tonight was an awesome experience,” Taylor said. “Coach has meant a lot to me, he’s a wonderful person and I’m glad we were able to finish this off for him.”
Riley Charlesworth led the Tigers (3-16, 1-6) with 28 points, nine rebounds, three assists and two steals. Bryce Guse added six points and seven rebounds.