Mike and Doug Cocke’ didn’t dream up this battle during a Fourth of July family barbecue, although that would have been a plausible story.
Mike Cocke’s Foss Falcons were scheduled to play Doug Cocke’s Stadium Tigers in a Narrows League 4A/3A crossover game all along.
It just happened to be the first head-to-head coaching battle between the two brothers.
Mike’s No. 9 ranked Foss Falcons defeated Stadium, 51-37, in what is believed to be the first Narrows League game with brothers as opposing coaches.
The Foss coach is 10 years younger than his brother, and he perceives Doug as a basketball mentor.
Doug is in his first season as Stadium’s coach. He helped out Mike as an assistant coach at Foss for the previous three seasons. Before that, he was an assistant coach for the Seattle University women’s team.
And they went at it Friday night at Stadium High.
“Man, that was tough,” said Mike Cocke’, 37. “Doug has been so instrumental in my coaching career. It’s been different not having him around because he brought so much insight to help us the past few years.”
Both coaches were looking forward to the game, although everybody involved acknowledged that it was a little strange.
“The Narrows League does the match-ups for the crossover games,” Mike said. “When (Doug) got the job, I just called him up and said ‘December 7th, huh?’ ”
Both brothers attended Stadium High. In an added twist, Mike’s son, Michel, transferred from Stadium to Foss this season and made the varsity team. Michel scored three points on Friday.
“It’s a fun game,” Doug said prior to tipoff. “He’s a competitive guy, I’m a competitive guy, we have a lot of family and friends here.”
Foss (2-1) is led by six seniors who were accustomed to working with Doug when he was an assistant coach.
“It was really weird because he was with us,” said Foss senior guard Dezmyn Trent. “He made us go hard, so we were thinking we were going against a good coach who made us work hard in practice.”
Trent scored 13 points to lead Foss, in what can only be described as an off-night. Trent was coming off of a 40-point performance in his last game, on Saturday against Clover Park.
“He had a lot of shots go in-and-out, he could have easily had 25 tonight,” Mike Cocke’ said. “He’s doing a great job of being a leader and pushing everybody around him. It’s definitely his team.”
It was a sluggish, physical early-season game that wasn’t particularly pleasing to the eye. Turnovers and scrambles for loose balls were commonplace, and neither team shot particularly well.
Foss slowly pulled ahead in the second quarter, built the lead up to 10 points midway through the third quarter, and then sewed it up when Jawan Osby drilled a 3-pointer to make it 34-21 late in the third.
Corey Glackin-Coley led Stadium with 12 points and six rebounds, but the Tigers fell to 1-2 on the season.