Unity's Carothers is The People's Choice - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Unity's Carothers is The People's Choice

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Unity's Keith Carothers helped lead the Mustangs their first state trophy in program history during the 2013-14 season. Unity's Keith Carothers helped lead the Mustangs their first state trophy in program history during the 2013-14 season.
MENDON, Ill. (WGEM) -- One would have to excuse Keith Carothers if he wasn't exactly cheery during the Christmas holiday.

His Unity basketball team had just three wins in eight tries at the break.

But that's only part of the story of this remarkable, yet roller coaster-type year.

"There were a lot of times during the season you questioned what you're doing as a coach, why aren't these things working?" Carothers said.

"It was a lot of work trying to figure out how do we get some really good pieces to get to come together."

The Mustangs rallied to win 18 games over the season's final three and a half months including their third consecutive regional title needing overtime to beat Central to advance.

"Our kids made some great plays to win that game and that was huge," Carothers explained. "Going away from that overtime victory carried us into some success after that in the postseason as well."

Sectional and Super-Sectional victories would follow as did a loss to eventual Class 1A state champ Mooseheart in the semifinals.

But Carothers gathered his troops and had a message prior to the third place game.

"We talked about two teams walk away with a win at the end of the season. You're going to have your state champion and then you're going to have your third place winner and we tried to focus on that," he said.

"Our kids did a really good job of just turning around and being ready for the next one right away."

The Mustangs did indeed cap off their historic campaign with the third place trophy, doing so with seven seniors and a group of up-and-coming underclassmen.

Memories were made and friendships were forged for a lifetime.

"All of that outside support and everything is amazing but I think the bond that these guys had together, going through everything that they did and being able to do something so special at this school, that will be their legacy," Carothers said.

"That will be something they'll get to remember forever."

Steering the ship was Carothers - The People's Choice for WGEM Coach of the Year.

"More than anything (the award) is indicative of the fact that we had a good team and a good group of kids. What those guys were able to accomplish I guess gets me a little bit of recognition," he indicated.

"I put all of that back on the kids."
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