Thursday, June 20, 2024

Basketball Preview: Boys shoot for postseason

With basketball season just getting underway, the schools of southern Denton County have a lot to be excited about.

Four area programs earned postseason berths in 2021-22 and are hungry for more this season.

The Guyer boys finished 30-6 last year and went 12-2 in district competition.

Coach Grant Long said he is excited about what his team is capable of accomplishing this season.

“We are loaded with guys that can really score,” Long said. “We have a ton of guard experience coming back and can really shoot the ball. We don’t have a ton of size, but make up for it in toughness and togetherness. We will be very good defensively and play really hard, but have to make sure we team-rebound.”

Players to watch this season for the Wildcats include Connor Newton, Jeremiah Green, Jordan Lowery, Silas Rodriguez and Mason White.

“We will have a great shot to win the district championship,” Long said.

Down the road in Argyle, the Eagles had an outstanding 2021-22 campaign, finishing 31-7 and reaching the fourth round of the playoffs.

Argyle is moving up a classification this season, and coach Russell Perkins said he believes his team will have its hands full.

“This will be our first year in our new 5A district after some very successful years in 4A,” Perkins said. “We are in a very tough, 8-team district that will present difficult challenges every night of our district season. There are two preseason state-ranked teams in our district (Birdville and Colleyville Heritage), and seven of our district teams have players with college offers.”

Argyle went 10-0 in district competition last season and return starters Hutch Burns, Jayson Demcher and Wayne Pritts.

Other players to watch for the Eagles include Jett McCasland and Kash Polk.

Perkins said in spite of the tough district Argyle now finds itself in, he believes his team will compete for a playoff spot

“We will be undersized,” Perkins said. “But hopefully our experience in big games from several of our players will give us a chance to be competitive in a very strong league. Our kids are excited about the challenge of playing bigger teams and bigger schools.”

Over at Liberty Christian, the Warriors finished 15-17 overall last season, and coach Preston Nadolski said he is pleased with how things are shaping up so far.

“We are improving each day and are excited about the opportunities and challenges ahead,” Nadolski said. “We have a lot of good teams on our schedule and look forward to competing at a high level this season.”

Liberty Christian finished third in district last year and lost by one point to Prestonwood Christian in the bi-district round.

Jimmy House, Spencer Anderson, Kason Simpson and Tre Turner should lead the way for LCS this season, and Nadolski said he thinks the Warriors will compete for a postseason berth.

“We are in a small, but tough district,” Nadolski said. “Three out of five teams make the playoffs. The goal is to host a playoff game by being one of the top two in district.”

In Flower Mound, the Marcus boys basketball team finished second in district with a record of 10-4 last season and lost in the bi-district round to Allen.

Coach Matthew Wright said, while he was hit pretty hard by graduation this past year, he is impressed with what he has seen from his players so far.

“We’re a very young, inexperienced team, but talented,” Wright said. “We’re learning to play together and figuring out roles.”

Marcus finished 23-9 overall in 2021-22 and return one starter in Jayden Ramnanan.

Also keep an eye on Dominick Harris.

Wright said he is optimistic about the Marauders’ chances due to an interesting team dynamic.

“Our team will compete for a playoff spot because we are very guard-heavy and can shoot the ball well,” Wright said.

Across town at Flower Mound High School, 2021-2022 could be a bit of a rebuilding season, as it was hit even harder by graduation than Marcus.

The Jaguars finished 12-19 overall last season, and coach Eric Littleton said his team also lost a lot of firepower from last season.

“We’re really young,” Littleton said. “We have three sophomores on varsity.”

Flower Mound does not have any returning starters from last season, and Littleton said he was not sure who were his players to watch, because everyone is new.

“Our goal is to get better every game,” Littleton said.

Over in Justin, the Northwest boys basketball team finished 10-20 overall last season, and second-year coach Xzavier Gaines said he expects to see a turnaround in 2022-23.

“Having my first full offseason with the players in my program, we should see a big improvement from last season,” Gaines said. “The hard work and commitment the players have shown will result in more wins for our team.”

Key returners for the Texans include Carter Donoho, Lance Carr and Dewayne Waldon.

Gaines said, based on what he has seen, he believes his team will be in the postseason hunt come February.

“We should be a playoff team this season,” Gaines said. “With the amount of experience we have coming back this season, we will be one of the biggest and most versatile teams in our district, which will help us win a lot of games.”

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