Byron Nelson’s girls basketball team continues to grow up. Sometimes, it takes a step back. Sometimes, it plays beyond its years.
But that’s what head coach Darren Wilson was expecting when he decided to bring several freshmen up. By winning the consolation bracket of the Weatherford tournament this past weekend, the Lady Bobcats were 8-3 as the began the week. The played Denton on Tuesday.
“The best thing for us is that we got to play a lot of kids, get some wins and use the games for more experience for my freshmen,” Wilson said. “I loved it. I’m carrying 15 girls on my varsity roster and four freshmen. Sometimes, you’re not getting the wins. But the experience on the court is invaluable because you really can’t simulate it [in practice].”
Wilson said senior guard Delanie O’Connell continues to move in the right direction as a leader. Wilson likes her maturity through this transition time with the rest of this young group.
He said he really didn’t say much to her about what her role was going to be this season. It was something she gravitated to. He expects that to continue.
“She’s very vocal with them, but it’s in a way that makes them feel welcome,” Wilson said. “It could have been easy for her to wonder if they were taking away minutes from her. She sees them as equals. Delanie can see their versatility. She’s free and knows there’s not the pressure where she has to score.”
Now it counts: 5-6A play begins
Tuesday against Denton meant a reunion between Nelson and former player Mailey Harris. A central figure on the 2014-2015 team, she transferred to Denton.
The season is moving so quickly that the district season starts Friday. Nelson opens 5-6A play at Keller Timber Creek. This is the first of that mini three-game stretch before the Christmas holidays.
The key to these games is making sure the club doesn’t take them for granted and think the season doesn’t really start until January. A team can put itself in good position with at least one win. The Lady Bobcats will have home games against Denton Ryan and Keller next week.
While it’s believed that Denton Guyer is the favorite, the district playoff race appears to be a little more wide open since Keller lost several key players from its 2014-2015 squad. Keller Fossil Ridge has the best player in the district with Texas Tech signee Grayson Bright. But Wilson believes his team can be in the running.
“There are a lot of things that we have to learn as we go through this district season,” Wilson said. “I think they’ve exceeded our expectations. They just have to enjoy every moment.”
Coach Cody Parris’ team (4-7) took some time off from this past weekend’s Northeast Lions tournament to prepare for the District 5-6A season. Northwest, which went 19-10 last year, opens at home against Keller Fossil Ridge on Friday.