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Jerel Russo remembers Josh Guilbeau as an eighth-grader playing varsity basketball at Catholic High School in the mid-1980s.
The Assembly Christian School boys’ basketball coach is still impressed with his former player, now in his first year as head coach for his alma mater.
“I have tremendous respect for Josh,” said Russo. “He was a tremendous player. In eighth grade he played varsity for me at Catholic High.”
Guilbeau said it was nice to reminisce with his former coach. Guilbeau was an assistant coach at CHS last year.
“I got to talk to Coach Russo a lot,” he said. “It’s nice to go up against your friends and mentors. I respect him for what he’s done here at Assembly.”
Both coaches got a kick out of working against each other on Monday when their teams met at ACS.
The homestanding Lions pulled out a 50-45 win, scoring the game’s last 7 points, in Catholic High’s season opener. The Panthers are missing several key players, who are currently on the football team and preparing for a second-round playoff game.
“I really don’t think of it too much once the game starts,” said Russo.
“It’s actually more of a thrill for me than I imagined.”
“It was a lot of fun,” said Guilbeau.