As soon as the 2012-13 season ended with a double-overtime loss to Beebe in a 5A state first-round game, the Watson Chapel boys were looking forward to this season.

As soon as the 2012-13 season ended with a double-overtime loss to Beebe in a 5A state first-round game, the Watson Chapel boys were looking forward to this season.


Starting in May, head coach Matt Busch and the Wildcats came together and, save for the summer dead period, have been working virtually non-stop with an eye on a 5A-South Conference title.


"They’ve been doing what I ask," Busch said of his team. "Even more importantly, they don’t ever ask why.


"They have been working since May. I bet we played 25-30 games this summer."


Busch thinks the work the Wildcats did in the offseason is paying dividends.


"Consistency," Busch said of his team’s key to success. "These guys didn’t miss a lot of days.


"We only have one football player on this team.


"These kids have been working basically from the end of last season through the whole offseason, except for the mandatory dead period. It’s easy to coach kids who are willing to work."


Busch said the work has carried over into the season.


"These kids do not know when practice is over," Busch said. "You can ask my wife.


There are nights I end practice at 4:30 and I don’t get home until 6.


"I don’t ask them to stay and shoot, in fact sometimes I have to tell them to leave.


"They want to put in the extra time. That is why this group is special. They want to be uncommon."


So far, so good.


Chapel is off to its best start under Busch (13-3) and is sitting atop the conference (5-0), but up next is a road game at rival White Hall (5-10, 2-3) on Tuesday night.


It’s hard to pinpoint what’s been the key to Chapel’s on-court success with point guard Tevin Brown running the show, guards C.J. Robinson and Leonard Robinson slashing and shooting, and Xavier Young and Ben Marcus pounding the boards and drawing fouls down low.


When asked, Bulldogs head coach Marc Stringer said he isn’t even sure what Chapel’s biggest strength is.


"I’ve seen them play a few times and seen them on film," Stringer said. "There are times when it seems like their size is the most impressive thing.


"There are other times when you think their guards are their biggest strength, and then there are games where they can just overwhelm you with their shooting."


Regardless, Stringer knows the Bulldogs will need to step up their play if they’re to pull off the upset.


"We’re going to have to do a lot better job rebounding and controlling the game," Stringer said. "We haven’t been shooting the ball well lately.


"… I’d hope that (playing Chapel) helps us improve our effort."


Busch expects both teams to be amped up for Tuesday’s game.


"The kids know each other," he said. "It’s personal. I mean these kids cross paths all the time.


"It’s not like with other conference games. I mean these kids see each other at the movies, they run into each other at the mall, (and) they go to church together."