Switch in playing style rights Everman’s ship

Posted Monday, Jan. 06, 2014  comments  Print Reprints

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It was last season when Everman coach Jay Mathieson had a revelation.

His basketball team was mired in a 1-4 start and headed to the Grapevine tournament with a ton of question marks and a minor identity crisis.

“We were down 30-7 in the first quarter of the first game and that’s when I realized things that had worked in the past, were not going to get it done now,” he said.

Everman, noted for a competitive hoops program, great athletes and a perennial playoff team, was still running a full-court press and trying to use transition basketball as its main production of points.

That’s when Mathieson told his players they were shifting to a half-court, tempo-controlled game.

Just a calendar year later and after closing the 2012-13 season winning 20 of their final 22 games, the Bulldogs are 13-3 and 3-0 in District 8-4A this season.

Moreover, the team has bought into the new philosophy. But it wasn’t without some minor mutinies.

At the end of the first quarter of a consolation round game with Class 5A defending state champion Flower Mound Marcus last season, Everman was up 4-2.

“The kids came off the floor complaining,” Mathieson said. “At the half, we were up 26-10 and they were loving it.”

The change has shifted the balance of offensive production away from the inside and put more pressure on the perimeter to produce.

So far, K.J. Malveau has led the charge in establishing the guard play. Malveau, a junior who started on varsity as a freshman, is averaging 19 points per game.

Two other guards, Reggie Kincade and Donald Thomas, combine to average 14.3 points per game.

Kincaide, who also quarterbacked the football team, is averaging 2.3 steals.

Malvo, at 6-foot-2, is Everman’s tallest player. That means Mathieson uses a platoon rotation in the low post with numerous substitutions.

“If we can get a transition basket, then we’re going to go for it,” Mathieson said. “But our objective now is to play great defense and if a team is bigger than us, we’re going try to draw them off the block.”

Birdville takes flight

It was a rough 1-4 start to the season for Birdville, but coach Jeff Fitch said he’s pleased the Hawks have stayed the course.

Doing so has led Birdville (8-5 overall) to a 6-0 record through the first half of District 6-4A play and if the Hawks get past Saginaw Boswell on Tuesday, a matchup with potentially undefeated Dunbar awaits next Saturday.

“We played a tough non-district schedule,” Fitch said. “We didn’t get blown out of any of those games and we felt like coming into the season we’d have a competitive team.”

The defense is holding teams under 47 points per game. On offense, Birdville has had eight players lead the team in scoring this season. Yet none of those players are averaging in double figures.

Forward Kendall Johnson, who had 20 points against Carter-Riverside and 19 in a win over Saginaw, is averaging 9.4 points and 6.8 rebounds per game.

Seven players average between six and just under 10 points per game.

Parity, and then some

District 8-4A has three teams — Waco, Everman and Burleson Centennial — tied for first place at 3-0.

Cleburne and Waco University trail in fourth and fifth places, respectively, while Crowley, Burleson and Joshua are winless.

But two of Crowley’s losses have been by one point, including a five-overtime loss to Centennial.

Similarly, in District 15-4A, Arlington Seguin is out to a 3-0 lead. But the winning margin hasn’t been by much for the Cougars.

Seguin had a one-point win over Mansfield Summit and five-point win over Lancaster.

Four teams are at 2-1 and it took overtime for two of them to settle things last Friday. Summit edged Lake Ridge, 58-55.

Also, in District 3-5A and 4-5A, three teams are atop the standings at 3-0.

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Game of the week

Rank Team Win/loss Previous
1. Cedar Hill 17-2 -
2. North Crowley 15-5 -
3. Duncanville 15-4 -
4. Richland 13-3 -
5. South Grand Prairie 14-4 -
6. Colleyville Heritage 14-5 -
7. Justin Northwest 17-4 -
8. Arlington 14-7 -
9. Coppell 15-5 -
10. Arlington Lamar 12-6 -
Week 8 (01/03/2011-01/09/2011)
Rank Team Win/loss Previous
1. Mansfield Summit 14-6 -
2. Grace Prep 14-5 -
3. FW Arlington Heights 12-2 -
4. FW Trimble Tech 17-3 -
5. Azle 13-3 -
6. Crowley 11-8 -
7. Everman 14-4 -
8. Kennedale 10-1 -
9. FW Southwest 11-8 -
10. Nolan Catholic 10-5
Week 8 (01/03/2011-01/09/2011)