Byron Nelson boys basketball coach Scott Curran likely has a tired team. But he probably has a seasoned and more experienced team.
With a roster that replaced nine seniors from 2012-2013, the Bobcats (9-4) played a stretch of 10 games in nine days and won nine of them, including last weekend’s Granbury tournament.
In Granbury, Nelson played four games. The week before in Georgetown, the Bobcats also played four. While the practice time probably was in short supply, there’s something to going through the fire together and becoming a better group because of it.
“The fact that we got all of that game experience is really important for us,” Curran said. “I think we really started to gel as a team by playing together and getting a feel for each other. We’re still a work in progress. But the last two weeks have really been important for us.”
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The grind of the last two weeks is something that grown men might fear. But with 15- and 16-year-old players, this is probably nothing. There were a couple of blowouts in the Granbury tournament where Curran could sit his starters in the fourth quarter. That helped save legs.
The best defender
When it comes to finding a lockdown defender, Curran turns to senior 6-2 senior guard Thomas Williams.
Williams is a pretty solid scorer at 14 points per game, but his ability to take the opposing team’s top player out of the game or limit his effectiveness is really something that can’t be taught. Curran calls Thomas a student of defense.
“He’s the best defender I’ve ever coached,” Curran said. “I think he takes pride in it and wants to make sure that part of his game will always be at a high level. People want to look at guards who can score. But when you have someone who can do both like Thomas can, that’s pretty special.
“He has long arms and can cover a lot of ground. I remember looking him at the half of a game Saturday where he was drenched in sweat. But you would have never known he was tired or out of it.”
A move-in from Illinois, Williams is being recruited by some smaller schools in his native state, Curran said.
District 5-4A play begins this week. The Bobcats opened Tuesday at home against Wichita Falls Rider and will play Friday at Lake Dallas. Expect this race to be between Nelson, Denton Guyer, Rider and potentially Lake Dallas.
The Texans (9-2) had the extremes last week as they hung on to beat Plano John Paul II, 50-47, and then blew out McKinney Boyd 71-49. This team opened District 4-5A play at Haltom on Tuesday before playing host to Carroll on Friday.
Without question, the Texans are taking some serious momentum with them because of a great 1-2 scoring combination of Taylor Johnson and Elijan Christman. The two have consistently been in double figures throughout the season.
Coach Mike Hatch has said repeatedly that he thinks this group will eventually become a really good shooting team. The other good thing is that it doesn’t have to rely on point guard Josh Tatum to score. He can score 18 points one night and two the next and this team wouldn’t really flinch.