This time of year is what every boys basketball team waits for – the start of the district season. But after Tuesday’s district openers, local teams will come to a sudden halt for the holiday break.
Holiday tournaments are just on the other side of Christmas and their role is to knock off rust and get players back into the grind and conditioning needed to make a playoff run.
Many coaches see the importance of the one game they’ll play this week until after the holiday and know it’s key to keep their players focused and not daydreaming of what’s to come and the new Xbox One they’ve put on their list.
Like most schools, Fossil Ridge is looking to set the tone this week.
Fossil Ridge, 6-9, was set to take on Weatherford on Tuesday before the break.
With the Panthers running just under .500 heading into the district season, a win over the Kangaroos would be a big boost, especially as Weatherford will likely be a playoff spot contender with Ridge.
The chance to get started on the right foot is big to any team, though, especially when there’s an opportunity to pick up momentum.
“I think it’s huge to get a win,” said Fossil Ridge head coach Zack Myers. “Nobody want to spend the holidays in a bad mood. It’s a great opportunity for us to win a road game against a team that we are fighting with to get a playoff spot,” Myers said of the district opener at Weatherford.
Myers agreed that the start-stop schedule can be awkward, but the season’s timeout can be beneficial.
“It’s a little weird, but it’s obviously a time to get away from the game and spend some time with your family. Those tournament games become important to get you going again,” he said.
Justin Northwest head coach Mike Hatch agreed that winning a district game can provide momentum prior to a break.
“It’s always important to get a district win,” Hatch said. “The break always seems to come when you least want it to,” he added, as the Texans are riding a pre-district record of 11-3.
“I hope we will play well on Tuesday,” Hatch said over the weekend. “I know winning that game always makes the break better.”
Northwest was taking on Saginaw prior before the holiday break, a time he said can have positive effects, as well.
“It really gives the kids a chance to recharge their bodies,” Hatch said. “Usually, it takes us a game or two to get our feel back. But, I think our guys will bounce back quickly.”
The Texans will be getting those first few games under their belt at the Mortiz Holiday Tournament at Aledo during the holiday break. The Texans will open that tournament against Mansfield.
Other teams’ district openers had Keller hosting Abilene, Central and Timber Creek squaring off, and Haslet Eaton taking on Saginaw Chisholm Trail.
Eaton, 1-8, has taken on a heavy dose of 6A teams, with no luck beating them as yet but came up just short last week against Haltom, losing 62-60.