After missing the playoffs for the first time ever last season, the Mansfield Summit boys basketball team has a clear goal ahead. A 6-8 record heading into Tuesday’s district opener against Waxahachie may not sound very promising, but head coach Jason Mutterer warns against using just wins and losses to judge the Jaguars.
“In 2016, kids sometimes determine success by wins. But we as coaches can see and we have to continuously show them film and stats that show we’re right there, that we’re getting better as a basketball team,” Mutterer said. ““I think we’re there. We’re really close to being a really good basketball team. We just have to get rid of, like a lot of young teams, spells of two minutes in this quarter or a minute-and-a-half of that quarter where we do some things that cost us a victory in the end.”
The Jaguars will likely go as guard Jahmius Ramsey goes. The sophomore logged important varsity minutes last year as a freshman and returns to lead the team this season.
“He can really score in three different ways,” Mutterer said. “He shoots the ball well. He has the ability to get in the paint and create and get to the rim. The other night he was 10-for-10 from the free-throw line, so now he’s shooting 76 percent from the free-throw line.”
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Ramsey put 42 on the board in a loss to Arlington Bowie last week.
“I just feel like I’m more confident,” he said. “I put in a lot of work this summer. I really just came into the year really confident. It was valuable to get that experience [last year]. Coming back this year, I know how it feels and what it takes to get things done.”
Mutterer knows Ramsey has the skillset and says he now just needs to improve on some of the things that come with growing up.
“Young kids do what’s easiest, and what’s easiest is standing at the three-point line,” Mutterer said. “He’s been able to diversify his game and make himself more of a threat now. Early in the year he wanted to just stand back at the three-point line and shoot threes. As he’s grown more familiar with our offense and comfortable with the things we’re doing offensively, he’s now able to penetrate and create and do all those things.”
The Jaguars will step back out of district play later this month for the Aledo tournament, which will give them further opportunity to fine tune before tackling a fairly daunting district schedule. Ramsey says he knows where the team needs to get better in order to get back to the postseason.
“We need to improve our on-ball defense and keeping people off the glass,” he said. “We should be pretty good if we do those things.”