After gradually working its way into the 2015-2016 season, Byron Nelson’s boys basketball team moves at an express pace this week.
Following Tuesday’s game against Weatherford, the Bobcats (1-1) move on to the Georgetown tournament, where they are guaranteed four games. They are scheduled to open Thursday afternoon against San Antonio Stevens. That will be followed by Georgetown Eastview and Round Rock Westwood on Friday. The 16-team tournament, which is broken into pools, moves into bracket play on Saturday.
“Every year is different,” head coach Scott Curran said. “We’ve had a lot of practice time, so all of the stuff is in place now. We really need to play some games. I sort of feel like I want to have those tournaments in December so your team is playing at a high level in late December and early January.”
The Bobcats followed up a tough opener to Flower Mound Marcus with a 70-60 victory against Argyle Liberty Christian on Nov. 23. Senior guard Ryan Wheeler delivered one of the better performances of his career with 24 points.
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But this isn’t the catch-and-shoot Wheeler from 2014-2015. There is more to his game. In fact, it was pretty much an offseason goal for him to bring diversity to it. He had to be less predictable for defenders.
“He’s a great offensive player,” Curran said. “Ryan can definitely put it on the floor. That’s something he has been working on since we talked to him in the spring when the season was over. Being able to put the ball on the floor is going to create a lot of different problems. If he was just spotting up and shooting, then he would be easier to defend.”
In Class 6A, a team can never have enough depth. Against Argyle Liberty Christian, Curran used 11 players. While the Bobcats had the game in control in the second half, it wasn’t a case where he emptied the bench. He used those players throughout the game.
“We have more depth with our guards,” Curran said. “The question is the quality of depth. At our level, you’ve got to have some good guys. I think we do.”
Curran’s team did suffer a rebounding loss this season. Senior Brandon Bowen, who helped as a rebounder in 2014-2015, is not playing with the team this season. Bowen is one of the top Division I football recruits in the country.
The Texans have pushed through the first two weeks of the season at 5-2. And as long as senior guard Tevian Ezell is shooting, that will be a good thing.
Well, that goes for pretty much most of head coach Mike Hatch’s roster. So far, this team has developed into a better shooting squad than he anticipated.
“We really didn’t know what to expect, but the play so hard and are better offensively than I thought we would be,” Hatch said. “We’re getting better and better. Tevian is a big-time shooting threat because he stretches the defense.
Ezell’s presence has allowed guard Avery Anderson to be a creator. Anderson can penetrate and draw defenders so he can either take the ball to the rim or kick out to a teammate who will typically have a good look.
“Tevian is taking really good shots, and we want him shooting the ball,” Hatch said. “We are just quicker to the ball.”
Northwest played Haltom on Monday before moving on the Weatherford tournament, where it meets Burleson Centennial on Thursday.