WARRENSBURG - Monday, Rich Schloss was standing on the court, yelling instructions, loud and occasionally harsh, to his players.
At times, his gruff attitude was reminiscent of the famed Burgher Coach George Khoury, who was New York State's "winningest coach" when he retired in the 1980s.
Khoury, who dominated Burgher basketball for decades, often sounded intimidating as he inspired a generation of teams to produce well over 500 wins during his tenure.
"Hands up! Move, move, move!" Schloss barked at Monday's practice, threatening to force several players run laps around the gym if they didn't comply.
In this practice, the Burghers were toughening up for a game against nemesis-neighbor Lake George on Wednesday.
Schloss was pushing the team because since the two latest victories, he's witnessed a lot of promise. The first of the two wins was the 56-29 derailing Jan. 6 of the Whitehall Railroaders, followed by a 52-40 defeat Friday of North Warren. The two wins lifted the team to 3-3 in the league, 4-7 overall.
Against the Cougars, Warrensburg dominated early with a 13-3 first-quarter lead, but North Warren's Ben Magee and other inside players were aggressive enough to force the Burghers out of a man-to-man defense into a 1-2-2 trap, Schloss said.
"Their big guy, Magee, was very physical, he worked us real hard and gave us trouble," Schloss said.
Rising-star Sophomore Mike Curtis provided a new dimension Friday to the Burghers' offensive campaign, shooting four 3-pointers, opening up shooting opportunities for Juniors Mike Perrone and Brendan Frye.
In the North Warren game, Curtis scored 18 points and Sophomore Ryan Belden contributed 11, Brendan Frye added 9, and Mike Perrone scored 6 - and set up his teammates with quick, on-target passes.
Magee led the Cougars with 18 points, followed by 12 by John Remington, who scored three 3-pointers.