Thanks to some hot 3-point shooting in the first half Monday, the Guyer Wildcats built a 10-point halftime lead over Flower Mound Marcus in their final tuneup before playing a District 5-4A schedule the rest of the year.
In the second half, the Wildcats went to their preferred method of scoring.
Senior post Justin Griffin went scoreless in the first half before scoring a game-high 13 points in the second half despite fouling out with 1:22 remaining and led the Wildcats to a 51-38 win.
“The post, for us, is always the initial look,” said Guyer’s first-year head coach Grant Long. “I just think we were getting some wide-open shots off the drive-and-kick and the swing pass and knocking down 3-pointers early. Those were just going down and that’s what they were giving us the most of.
“In the second half, they were more out on our shooters and that really opened up Justin inside.”
The Wildcats (12-5), the No. 17 team in the Class 4A Texas Association of Basketball Coaches state poll, held the Marauders (9-14) to only two first-quarter points and nine in the first half as the Wildcats went to the halftime break with a 19-9 lead over the two-time defending Class 5A state champions, which is albeit a completely different team now with a new head coach.
“We were very active and very aggressive [defensively], and it’s not just on the ball, it’s the guys right off the ball that I was most proud of,” Long said. “That’s what we’ve really put in work on.”
The Wildcats’ strong defensive play continued into the second half, but not without some hiccups.
Guyer entered the fourth quarter with a 13-point lead and quickly extended it to 15 points before the Marauders began to chip away.
When Jack Holden hit a 3-pointer with 2:56 remaining in the game, Guyer’s lead was cut to five points.
From that point, the Wildcats went on a 6-0 run, thanks to some foul shots by Miles Crawford, a bucket from Alex Partridge and an offensive put-back by Griffin just moments before he collected his fifth foul. Partridge added 12 points for Guyer, and Crawford chipped in eight and took a couple of huge fourth-quarter charges to sway the momentum back in Guyer’s favor.
Now that the nondistrict portion of Guyer’s schedule is complete, the Wildcats will face a big test Friday night when the Wildcats play host to Trophy Club Byron Nelson (16-3, 2-0 District 5-4A).
Though it is still early in the season, the game will give one team the leg up in the district race, as one team will be left at 3-0 in district play.
“We’ve got some tapes on them, and I’ve watched them numerous times,” Long said. “As soon as that game ended, that’s where our focus goes. That’s the big one. That’s a district opponent and the one that matters for the playoffs.”
The Wildcats will also get some nice additions for the game as they will have Jerrod Heard and D.J. Breedlove back from the football team, which won the Class 4A Division I state championship last weekend. Both players started for the Wildcats last season and will add immediate depth.
“We’re confident bringing those guys in and knowing they can play,” Long said. “They played in the spring and the summer with us, and they’re used to our system and what we do.
“I’m really looking forward to later in the season when we have everyone and we’re just jelling and rolling.”
ADAM BOEDEKER can be reached at 940-566-6872. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Flower Mound Marcus 38
FM Marcus 2 7 10 17 — 38
Guyer 8 11 15 17 — 51
Flower Mound Marcus (9-14) — Michael Mayhew 8, Stefan Robinson 3, Jack Holden 12, Jordan Alexander 5, Kaden Smith 2, Michael Wheeler 2, Aaron Steele 6.
Guyer (12-5) — Sean Choate 3, Shelton Childress 3, Miles Crawford 8, Alex Partridge 12, Mitchell Willard 6, Zack Duncan 5, Justin Griffin 13, Xavier Brown 1.