As basketball season gets underway for the boys of southern Denton County, local teams have a number of reasons to be excited.
Three area boy’s teams made the postseason in 2016-17, including one state tournament appearance. This year, a lot of talent is returning to programs.
Below is a look at the prognoses for the 2017-2018 seasons for each of the regions schools.
Argyle High School
Head Coach: Russell Perkins (4th Season)
Last Year’s Record: 33-4
Place in District: Tied for first
Playoffs: State Semi-Finals
Returning Starters: Guard Brandon White
Players to Watch: Brandon White (Jr.), Maxwell Valentino (Jr.), Blaze McMellian (Sr.), Koy Randall (Sr.), Ben Collins (Sr.), Wilson Peltier (Sr.), Luke Feely (Sr.)
Analysis: The Eagles defeated Wilmer-Hutchins, Dallas Terrell, Dallas Carter, Center High School and Paris last season, before coming up just short against Silsbee by a score of 47-46 at state.
While White– last season’s district 9-4A’s Newcomer of the Year– is the only returning starter from last year’s program, coach Perkins said that two of the teams’ greatest strengths include, “tradition and balanced scoring.”
Prognosis: Argyle has won the past three district championships and should not vie for a fourth one in 2018. Coach Perkins has lost some serious firepower from last year’s program, but seems to get the most out of his players year in and year out. A postseason berth and possible playoff run should be in store for this year’s team.
Flower Mound High School
Head Coach: Eric Littleton (7th Season)
Last Year’s Record: 20-11
Place in District: Second
Playoffs: Bi-District Round
Returning Starters: Forward Colton Martin
Players to Watch: Colton Martin (Sr.), Ben Hanley (Sr.) and Caleb Lohner (So.)
Analysis: The Jaguars went 11-4 in district play last year, but lost the district Offensive MVP and two, first-team all-district selections to graduation; so, there might be a bit of rebuilding in 2018.
“We are really inexperienced with only one returning starter,” Littleton said. “We potentially could also start two sophomores.”
Although Hebron will likely repeat as district champions in 5-6A, the other three playoff spots should be up for grabs.
Prognosis: A lot will depend upon how the younger players step-up for Flower Mound this year. But the Jags, along with Southlake Carroll, Lewisville and Trophy Club Nelson should fight it out for the second, third and fourth playoff spots.
Guyer High School
Head Coach: Grant Long (6th season)
Last Year’s Record: 25-6
Place in District: First
Playoffs: Bi-District Round
Returning Starters: Forward Grayson Carter, Guard Le’tre Darthard, Guard Devion Harmon and Guard Jalen Wilson
Players to Watch: Grayson Carter (Sr.), Le’tre Darthard (Sr.), Devion Harmon (Jr.), Jalen Wilson (Jr.), Chris Craig (Sr.), Jakobe Coles (So.), Tyler McGhie (So.) and Brandon Bird (Sr.)
Analysis: The Wildcats went 12-2 in 6-6A competition last season and won a district championship; but, made an early exit from the playoffs in the bi-district round against Euless Trinity. Coach Long does not believe that his team will have the same issue in the post-season in 2018.
“We have a high-level of talent coming back with experience,” Long said.
That talent includes Georgetown commitment Grayson Carter and last season’s district Co-MVP Devion Harmon.
Prognosis: Guyer should make the playoffs in 2018 and go at least three rounds deep; possibly farther.
Liberty Christian School
Head Coach: Charles Freet (1st Season)
Last Year’s Record: 5-26
Place in District: Eighth
Returning Starters: Guard Ty Baran and Guard/Forward Grant Sawyer
Players to Watch: Ty Baran (Sr.), Grant Sawyer (Sr.), Jared Braveness (So.), Matthew Grigg (Jr.), Collin Gamble and Adam Johnson (Jr.)
Analysis: Liberty is looking to rebound from a tough 2017 campaign that included just one district victory, but Freet believes his team will be competitive.
“We will be able to compete for the district title, because of the combination of returning players and talented younger players,” Freet said. “They will be a good mix for this year’s team and future Liberty teams.”
Freet is also expecting contributions from newcomers Israel Isuman-Hundley and Skylar McMurry.
Prognosis: There is nowhere to go for the Warriors except up. Whether or not Freet can find the right combination of players to earn a spot in the post-season remains to be seen.
Marcus High School
Head Coach: Clay Cody (6th Season)
Last Year’s Record: 16-15
Place in district: Fifth
Returning Starters: Guard Xavier Smith and Forward Nelson Chevis
Players to watch this season: Xavier Smith (Sr.), Nelson Chevis (Sr.), Will Goetz (Sr.), Jordan Richard (Sr.), Connor Castans (Sr.) and Isaiah Short (Sr.).
Analysis: Marcus was right on the cusp of a post-season berth in 2017, but did not quite get over the hump. The Marauders return one all-district selection (Smith) from last season, but are top-heavy when it comes to upperclassmen.
“Marcus will compete for a playoff spot, because of our experience and leadership,” assistant coach Andrew Atkins said. “We will have eight seniors on our team.”
Prognosis: Marcus should be viewed as a dark-horse this season for one of the playoff spots in district 5-6A. They have a number of players with playing experience, but the key for the Marauders will be how that translates to three new starting roles.