With its football team showing that it has no trouble switching districts, Guyer’s basketball team will look to follow suit as the Wildcats transition to District 5-4A, where Denton and Lake Dallas await to make playoff runs of their own.
For Guyer, the Wildcats have aspirations of breaking into the district with a bang by taking the title as well making a deep playoff run. With Guyer currently ranked No. 17 in the state by the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches, head coach Grant Long isn’t focused on the finish line.
“We make sure, even though its cliché, to focus on the next game ahead,” Long said. “We always say to enjoy the journey. Our expectations are to win every game we play. Our main goal is to make a deep playoff run. We played a tough nondistrict schedule. I’ve been proud of our guys and the few losses we have, they learned a lesson from.”
With Jerrod Heard and DJ Breedlove expected to join Guyer’s offensive threats in Miles Crawford and Joshua Jordan after Saturday’s state title game, Long said he expects both players to come back in stride.
“I think it will be a great thing for us,” Long said. “We can just bring them in. There doesn’t have to be a lot of pressure on them, and the great thing is that our team is all friends. They go to their games, and they will fit right in.”
The Wildcats (9-3) will open their district schedule at home against Azle today and will see Denton on the road Friday.
“We have a really tough district,” Long said. “[Trophy Club] Byron Nelson has a really good team. I think Denton and Azle are good, too. It could be a log jam.”
Denton head coach Harold Jackson hopes the Broncos can outlast the state-ranked Wildcats and “steal” a home victory Friday.
“They have tremendous kids and coaches, and they are going to give themselves a chance to play in February,” Jackson said. “We are going to try to see if we can steal one from them at home and then on the road.
“It’s going to be a difficult task to say the least. Hopefully we can make one more play than they make.”
Along with Guyer, Nelson and Azle, Denton was projected by the TABC to snag the last playoff spot in the district. Jackson says for his team to make the playoffs, they have to play great at home and play consistently for four quarters.
“We are going to have to play for a high level, very consistently for us to contend for a playoff spot,” Jackson said. “We have played well, but we want to play well for the entire game. In order for us to have an opportunity to make the playoffs, we have to win every home game. We have to hold home court and try to steal a few on the road. We have to limit our mistakes and capitalize on theirs to come away with a victory on the road.”
The Broncos have a high-tempo offense led by Adarian Harris, Greg Helt, Ryan Daniels and Michael Jackson. At 5-9 on the season, the Broncos’ tough nondistrict schedule is behind them as they open district play on the road at Lake Dallas.
“Denton is a very good ball club, and their record isn’t an indicator of how good they are, so we are going to expect a tough game,” Lake Dallas head coach Josh Welch said. “Coach Jackson does a good job with those kids, and they are going to bring the press. They have a lot of good athletes, and they are going to get after it. It is going to be coming full court and full game.”
With the Falcons (5-10) rebuilding after two mediocre seasons and Welch in his first year as head coach, he said his team’s goal is to make the playoffs and a win over the Broncos in the district opener would be big first step.
“Every year, I want our goal to be to make regionals,” Welch said. “It’s step by step. We want to win our first district game and after that, try to win them all. They won two games last year and two the year before. We’ve won five games this year, and we are making progress. We have a lot of guys that can get to the rim, and we want to play an up-and-down game to force turnovers.”
Josh Jackson headlines the Falcons’ offense, with guards Kaleb Wright, Lorren Basset and Reality Jackson providing an overall stability to the team that Welch is banking on for Lake Dallas to be successful.
“As of right now, we are well rounded,” Welch said. “We have three or four guys averaging eight points a game. It’s nice to know that if someone has a bad night, that they can step up.”
PATRICK HAYSLIP can be reached at 940-566-6873. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .