Panthers look to fill roles of departed seniors

Posted Monday, Jul. 08, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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The Colleyville Heritage boys basketball team will have big shoes to fill in 2013-2014 if they hope to make another playoff appearance and possibly contend for another district championship.

Big shoes, that is, strictly in the figurative sense. Graduated are guards Colten Gober and Dominic Perez, who together formed a backcourt that propelled the Panthers to a 24-10 record and a District 6-5A Championship. Gober, a four-year letterman, and Perez, a two-year letterman, provided most of Colleyville Heritage’s scoring and playmaking ability last year in the Panthers’ guard-oriented offensive attack. Without them, head coach Stephen Hamrick will need others to step up.

“There are big shoes to fill with the lettermen that we lost but collectively we can fill those holes,” Hamrick said. “It will be different guys, but they can fill those holes. We’ve done a good job of that in the off-season. They’ll be prepared when the time comes.”

To fill the backcourt void left by Gober and Perez, Hamrick said he would rely mostly on the trio of Derrick Donnell, Jacob Sisk and Jackson Barlow. All are seniors, but each is expected to contribute in a different capacity. Donnell, who spelled Gober at point guard as a junior, has plenty of varsity experience and will be asked to take over full-time playmaking duties. Sisk, also a key contributor for the Colleyville Heritage football team, will return for his second year on varsity and can play both guard positions. And then there is Barlow, who played on the junior varsity team last year, but has had “a really nice spring and summer for us,” said Hamrick.

Inexperience will be a common theme for the Panthers this year. Gober and Perez represented two of last year’s seven seniors. Just five players will return to this year’s team with previous varsity experience.

“The game has a way of figuring things out,” Hamrick said. “We lost some experience and we lost some people with major roles. We’re excited to see who can fill those roles.”

Though Hamrick doesn’t expect the Panthers to stray from their passing and cutting offensive identity, he will have more size to work with this season than in previous years. At least for Colleyville Heritgae, relatively speaking. Alex Weaver, who’s capable of operating with his back to the basket, will join returning lettermen Noah Nelson and Brady Miller. Those three make up most of Colleyville Heritage’s inside presence.

“We are going to tweak some things to fit our personnel and play to our strengths,” Hamrick said.

To gain more experience against varsity competition and allow the team to gel, Colleyville Heritage has participated in a number of spring and summer leagues. With so much inexperience, team roles are hardly set in stone. There is one thing, above else, though thatHamrick has preached to his team thus far.

“One thing we’re going to hang our hat on is being tough defensively,” Hamrick said. “I think we can be a good team defensively. How we do that remains to be seen. I know if we want to be great it will be a staple of ours.”

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