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H.S. Basketball Preview

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As the playoffs get underway in football and volleyball, and distance runners gear up for the regional and state cross-country meets, our attention is turned to the hardwood, where a number of the top programs in the state find their homes in Southern Denton County.

Of the 12 teams in the area, 10 earned post-season berths in the 2009-2010 season, and three of the teams, the Marcus boys, the Argyle boys and the Liberty Christian girls, come into the 2010-2011 campaign ranked in the top 10 in the state according to the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches pre-season poll.

District realignment could make things interesting for the coming season, but one thing is almost for certain – no matter what colors local basketball fans don on Tuesday and Friday nights, there will likely be a lot to cheer for this season.

How the Boys Stack Up:

 

Program: Marcus Marauders

Last Year’s Record: 37-3

Playoffs: State Semi-Finals

Coach: Daniel Henderson

Players to Watch: Marcus Smart (first team all-state), Phil Forte (first team all-region) and AJ Lucky (district Newcomer of the Year)

Toughest District Opponents: Flower Mound, Plano West, Lewisville

Outlook: Marcus just missed out on a state championship last season, and is the pre-season top-ranked 5A boys team heading in. The Marauders went 12-0 in district competition last year, and hope to pick up right where they left off, with a good corps of their players returning. “Our new district will be extremely competitive,” Henderson said. “To make the playoffs we must be great on the defensive end and we must be unselfish on the offensive end.” Marcus will open the season at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 16 against Colleyville Heritage at MHS.

 

Program: Flower Mound Jaguars

Last Year’s Record: 21-11

Playoffs: Bi-District Round

Coach: Charles Freet

Players to Watch: Jordan Green (all-district, all-region selection) and Jake Moses

Toughest District Opponents: Marcus, Plano West, Lewisville

Outlook: Flower Mound has made the post-season the last four consecutive years, and Freet said his team is feeling pretty good about things heading into 2010, especially about the level of competition his team will be facing. “We lost four starters, but have talented players,” Freet said. “The key to our success is playing as one.  We must be fundamentally sound in order to compete in our new district.  We will have to protect the paint, blockout every time, limit turnovers and take good shots. We have to do this for 32 minutes.”  In the first week of the season, Flower Mound will square off with some of the best teams in the state at the McDonald’s Invitational Tournament in Pasadena, TX.

 

Program: Guyer Wildcats

Last Year’s Record: 14-15

Playoffs: None

Coach: Trey Watts

Players to Watch: Ronny Garza, Greg Washington

Toughest District Opponents: Southlake Carroll and Coppell

Outlook: Watts is in his first season as head coach for the Wildcats, and looks to help lead the team to a playoff berth in 2010-2011, after Guyer missed the post-season last year. “We want our team leaders to buy into the process of building a high caliber program,” Assistant coach Grant Long said. “[We want them] to lead our younger players into building a championship team.”

Guyer opens the season at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 19 against Colleyville Heritage in Colleyville.

 

Program: Argyle Eagles

Last Year’s Record: 25-10

Playoffs: Regional Quarter-Finals

Coach: John King

Players to Watch: Clark Overlander (district MVP), Doug Fryer (district Defensive MVP), and Conner York (Newcomer of the Year)

Toughest District Opponents: Gainesville, Sanger, and Whitesboro

Outlook: Henderson has a good nucleus of talent returning to a district that lost it’s champion from last year. The Eagles were runner-ups in that district. Look for Argyle to challenge for a district title this year, and have a good run in the post-season. “Our kids realize the potential that this team has and have worked extremely hard over the spring, summer, and fall months,” Henderson said. “I think we know that our talent is in place, but we must continue to work on our team chemistry to be able to make a good run this year.” Argyle opens the season at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 16 against Carrollton Creekview at home.

 

Program: Liberty Christian Warriors

Last Year’s Record: 15-11

Playoffs: Two Rounds

Coach: Richard Scofield

Players to Watch: Brad Horton, Eric Heidelman

Toughest District Opponents: Fort Worth Nolan and Plano Prestonwood Christian

Outlook: The Warriors finished third in district last year and went two rounds into the post-season. They will be moving up a class this year and lost four all-district selections from last year’s squad. Liberty does have some talented scorers, however, and should be a contender for a playoff spot in their new district. Liberty will play Parish Episcopal School at 7:30 on Nov. 23 at Parish Episcopal.

 

Program: Coram Deo Lions

Last Year’s Record: 18-12

Playoffs: Two Rounds

Coach: Victor Lemley

Players to Watch: Zac Moor (first team all-district)

Toughest District Opponents: Lake Country Christian and Fort Worth Calvary

Outlook: The Lions were district runner ups last season and should be even better in 2010/2011. Heading into the season as the 19th ranked small private school according to the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches, Coram Deo could become a force in the sport of boys basketball.

 

Where the Girls Are:

 

Program: Marcus Lady Marauders

Last Year’s Record: 24-3

Playoffs: Bi-District Round

Coach: Pamela Owens

Players to Watch: Hailie Sample – (12 points, 7 rebounds per game, Committed to Nebraska); Shannon Malone – (8 points, 5 rebounds per game)

Toughest District Opponents: Plano West, Lewisville, Flower Mound

Outlook: In her first season at the helm, Owens is looking to pick up right where the Lady Marauders left off in 2009/2010, which was a second place finish in district 6-5A and a post-season berth. Owens said she believe realignment has made Marcus’ new 8-5A district one of the toughest in the states this season, but said she believes her team is capable of great things, as well. “In order to have a good season and make the playoffs, we must bring it every game, play Marcus basketball, and believe we can get it done,” Owens said.

 

Program: Flower Mound Lady Jaguars

Last Year’s Record: 17-18

Playoffs: Bi-District Round

Coach: Sherika Nelson

Players to Watch: Amy Freet – (7 points, 6 rebounds per game; 83% Free Throw Shooter); Nicole Smallwood – (5 points per game; 35% shooter from 3 point line); Ashley Deary – (5 points, 2 steals a game – speed and quickness); Mackenzie Creighton – (team leader, quick, intense)

Toughest District Opponents: Plano West, Lewisville, Marcus

Outlook: Flower Mound sort of snuck into the playoffs last year, and look to make some serious noise in the district in 2010/2011. Nelson said she thinks it will take a couple of things to rival for a district title this coming season. “We will have to take advantage of strengths, use our quickness to create good shots and play pressure defense to create a transition game,” Nelson said. “We will have to improve in the paint area and rebounding.  We will have to play team ball and utilize every position on the floor.”

 

Program: Guyer Lady Wildcats

Last Year’s Record: 8-18

Playoffs: Bi-District Round

Coach: Harold Colson

Players to Watch: Courtney Gregory

Toughest District Opponents: Southlake Carroll and Coppell.

Outlook: Colson is in his first year as head coach for Guyer, and while he does believe that his team will face some serious challenges moving up in competition to 5A, he believes his team will be competitive. “The girl’s are learning a whole new offensive and defensive system,” Colson said. “Hopefully, we can adjust to our new system and our new 5A status and by the time district rolls around, be ready to play Guyer basketball and win some games.”

 

Program: Argyle Lady Eagles

Last Year’s Record: 16-17

Playoffs: Area Round

Coach: Steven Schmidt

Players to Watch: Michelle Kuckelman, Miranda Laurion, Madison Eschle and Barbara-Scott Kolb

Toughest District Opponents: Sanger

Outlook: The Lady Eagles wrapped up their fifth consecutive district championship last season, finishing 10-0 in district competition. Schmidt says he believes it may take a while for his team to find it’s niche, but said he believe, as always, Argyle will be in the playoff hunt when district is drawing to a close. “We’ll need to be patient as we grow into a team and figure out our identity this year,” Schmidt said.  “We should be a pretty athletic group, so we will emphasize aggressive defense and try to get the fast break going as much as we can.  Rebounding will be a challenge each game, since we are again undersized compared to most of our opponents.”

Program: Liberty Christian Lady Warriors

Last Year’s Record: 33-8

Playoffs: State Runner Up

Coach: Ken Burroughs

Players to Watch: Nicole Kornet (20.9 points, 6.3 rebounds per game), Summer Fife (averaged 15.5 points per game)

Toughest District Opponents: Fort Worth Nolan and Bishop Lynch.

Outlook: Liberty Christian has made a point of going deep into the post-season year after year. With two extremely talented players back to lead the way for the Lady Warriors, do not expect anything to change in 2010/2011.

 

Program: Coram Deo Lady Lions

Last Year’s Record: 7-11

Playoffs: None

Coach: Bernard Scott

Players to Watch: Brayden Deal

Toughest District Opponents: Fort Worth Calvary Christian and Carrollton Prince of Peace Christian

Outlook: Coram Deo might struggle, having lost top scorer Hannah Kalin from last season, but the CDA athletics department is beginning to produce some strong programs, and the Lady Lions could rival for a post-season berth with good team chemistry.

 

 

 

 

 

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