Prior to last weekend’s tournament at Decatur, the Ryan boys had only one loss on their ledger.
But then came a loss to Dallas Triple A Academy and a humbling loss to Trophy Club Nelson, in which Ryan scored 19 points and allowed twice that amount.
The Raiders are coming off a year that saw the team reach the Class 4A state tournament. A year later, Ryan’s facing the challenge of moving up to Class 5A and coping with the departure of several key contributors.
The 5A challenge will come in a month, when District 5-5A play begins. For now, Ryan coach Bryce Overstreet must figure out how to incorporate the players coming in fresh off of football season.
“I think the overall continuity of what we’re doing right now has to improve,” Overstreet said. “I still go back to the fact that we’ve had our entire team for two weeks. Out of those two weeks, we’ve played seven games and had six practices.”
Ryan (7-3) is still awaiting the return of junior Xavier Gray, who is recovering from a nagging ankle injury suffered during football season. Overstreet said that at the worst he expects Gray back before The Colony Tournament on Dec. 27 and 28.
Juniors Trent Willis and Tyrone Williams already have joined the Raiders on the court and played in the Decatur tournament.
“It definitely adds to our depth,” Overstreet said. “Prior to them being out, we were essentially playing five guys. It adds to our depth. It allows for our practices to be much more competitive on a daily basis, and we’ve added talent along with that.”
Ryan doesn’t start district play until Jan. 11 against Lewisville.
Sanger awaits return of injured center Smith
Sanger head boys basketball coach Rob Sikora said he didn’t think his team necessarily missed center Wilding Smith in Tuesday night’s 59-44 loss to Argyle.
However, the Indians probably could use the 6-2, 240-pound sophomore back sooner rather than later. Sanger (6-7) has lost all four games Smith has missed. He’s been out since injuring his ankle last week in practice.
Sikora said he expects Smith to be back next week.
“He’s not a stat filler,” Sikora said. “He’s smart, he’s physical and he knows what to do — he executes. I tell our guys, ‘When he plays, more bodies hit the ground.’ He’s a big, strong kid.”
Sikora said Smith typically can put up about seven points and eight rebounds a game for the Indians, who have been mired in the four-game losing streak since his injury.
The Sanger coach said his main concern is getting ready for District 9-3A play, which begins Jan. 11 at Krum, which is moving up to Class 3A this season.
Breaking the losing streak may not happen before the end of the week, when the Indians face Whitesboro at home on Friday.
“We’re not as worried about the wins and losses,” Sikora said. “We want to win, but we’re worried about getting better. We had 10 guys that played [against Argyle] and that’s how we’re going to get better. You get a district-type atmosphere when you play Argyle and really a playoff-type atmosphere when you play those guys.”
Argyle’s Ralston could return by next week
Like Ryan and Sanger, Argyle is waiting on one of its significant players to be removed from the list of the wounded.
Eagles head coach John King said sophomore Nick Ralston could be back for next week’s games against Ryan and Texarkana Liberty-Eylau. Ralston is recovering from a knee injury suffered during football season.
King said that while he’s unsure what Ralston’s role will be once he’s back at full strength, the addition of the sophomore will bolster Argyle’s roster.
“We know the type of offensive production he’s capable of, and certainly we’re looking for him to come in and give us some good offense,” King said. “We know what kind of competitor he is, from last year and of course from football. We think he can be a tremendous asset to our program.”
In 2011, Ralston, a running back, joined the basketball program after Argyle lost to Wimberley in the Class 3A Division II state championship game. King said it didn’t take long for Ralston to move up through the freshman and JV teams and land a spot on the varsity team around the time district play started.
This year, Ralston joins a squad that’s ranked ninth in Class 3A by the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches and a team that’s made the most of what it has.
The Eagles (9-5) have made up for the absence of a traditional post presence with sophomore Jonathan Davis and junior Chase Kammerer. Davis is a move-in from Peaster and has the ability to knock down long-distance shots, King said.
King said he believes his post players, including junior Mike Morris, have the ability to disrupt the game plans of opposing teams.
“Although we may not have a true dominant post-up player right now, we think our posts pose some matchup problems for some people that we’ll play,” King said.
BEN BABY can be reached 940-566-6869. His e-mail address is email@example.com .