EAST BRIDGEWATER — Christian Davis has always been something of a dreamer.
As an eighth-grader, Davis made a pair of bold predictions:
First, he and his best friend, Shane Haggerty , were going to captain the boys’ basketball team at Cohasset High as seniors. Head coach Bo Ruggiero made that happen after last season for the 2012-13 campaign.
The second prediction: when Haggerty — always the better scorer growing up — registered the 1,000th point of his high school career, Davis would get the assist.
On Jan. 8, in a home game against Monomoy, that prediction came true too, when the 6-foot forward reached the grand total off a feed from Davis.
“That went perfectly,” Haggerty said of his 1,000th career point.
Davis “was probably the first one out there helping me up because I got fouled. He came over and you could see how excited he was. And probably two minutes later he said, ‘I told you I was going to get the assist.’ ”
The basket was a highlight for both captains in a season that so far has been chock full of them. The Skippers suffered their only two losses on the road, falling to Norwell and Rockland. They registered their fourth straight win on Tuesday, beating East Bridgewater, 67-41.
Both Haggerty and Davis are major players in Cohasset’s fast-paced offense, which does not waste any time in transition and features Haggerty as the finisher.
“He can run like a deer, he dunks the basketball, he’s got very good ball-handling skills, he’s an outstanding outside shooter, he’s competitive taking the ball to the basket, and his midrange jump shot is very, very good,” said Ruggiero.
Those skills were on display Tuesday at East Bridgewater: Haggerty either drove to the hoop for a seemingly easy layup or hung out on the left side to shoot a 3-pointer. Either way, it was often off an assist from his 5-foot-9 point guard, Davis.
It has been that way for a long time.
The pair met, according to Davis, when they were 5, playing against each other in a recreational basketball league. Since then they have come up through Cohasset public schools together, played on travel teams, and even journeyed to Kentucky with a youth group to rebuild a family’s house.
They played football, basketball, and baseball together, winning back-to-back Division 4 state championships on the diamond freshman and sophomore year.
This past fall was their last run on the gridiron as two-way threats (wide receiver/cornerback).
Once basketball season ends, they will return to the outfield — never far from each other, Haggerty mans center field while Davis patrols right — for their final scholastic athletic season.
For now, though, the focus is on the hardwood.
Ruggiero said Haggerty is among the best kids he has ever coached.
“Shane Haggerty may be the quintessential athlete at the high-school level,” Ruggiero said. “He’s a sponge in terms of learning. His work ethic is of the highest caliber. He’s a terrific competitor. He just competes in every single drill. He’ll compete with his brother; he’ll compete with his sister. He just wants to win. But it’s not an obsession — he’s just a competitor.”
This season has been no different. Haggerty is averaging 24 points per game, up from 17 per game last season, and some of that increase may be the result of the competitiveness both he and Ruggiero keyed in on.
As a senior, it is Haggerty’s final chance to play with his brother Chris , a junior and the team’s sixth man, and his final chance to continue the legacy of his older sister Carli , who was a part of two state championship teams before graduating in 2011.
And then there is the matter of competing with his best friend. Even after 12 years, the soft-spoken and levelheaded Haggerty and the more extroverted Davis love to outdo each other.
If “the assist” is a top personal highlight for the captains, the dominant win against East Bridgewater might be another — for Davis, at least. He netted 20 points, a good-but-not-spectacular game for the speedy senior. Until he realized Haggerty got just 19.
“I love it,” Davis said with a big grin after the game, looking at Haggerty and unable to hold back a laugh.
“It’s the second time he’s beaten me,” Haggerty responded, much less enthusiastically.
“Westport last year,” Davis said, quick to recall and still smiling. “We joke about it. It’s a rarity.”
The pair’s playful competitiveness, not to mention their skill, is a big part of what has made Cohasset such a threat this season, leaving the Skippers well-positioned to make a postseason run after 16 wins last year and a Division 4 South championship the year before.
So far, so good, right?
“I’m not happy yet though,” Davis said. “Never be content with what you have. I want to keep going.”
Coach is enjoying ‘great group of kids’
Steve Barrett has been coaching the West Bridgewater girls since 1980, but there is something about this year’s squad that is different from the rest.
He cannot put exact words on it, but after more than three decades as the team’s coach and school’s athletic director, the Wildcats have him enjoying it more than ever.
“I’ve never had a group better than this group to work with,” Barrett said. “It’s just a great group of kids to work with. We don’t have a great number of kids, but they don’t miss practice and they work hard.”
For Barrett to say he doesn’t have “a great number” might be an understatement.
West Bridgewater has played much of the season with just eight athletes, and although he plans to call up a few of the younger JV players, the team has been so worried about numbers that it keeps hand sanitizer on the bench in an attempt to keep players healthy and on the court.
The Wildcats were playing just fine when they beat previously undefeated Norfolk Aggie, 56-26, Tuesday night. Junior captain Brittany Smith , who is averaging 22.5 points per game this season, led the way again with 28.
Junior Tiarra Murrell added 12 points and 14 rebounds while eighth-grader Ericha Whitham chipped in with 11 points.
“The nice thing about our team is we don’t look to one person to score,” Barrett said. “If we get it to Brittany, that’s fine. If we don’t, then other people are expected to step up.”