Byron Nelson’s 2014-2015 girls basketball season was considered a rebuilding project. But that pales in comparison to what the 2015-2016 season is.
In some respects, it might be a complete reconstruction. Here’s what happened. Maddie See graduated. Alexis Smith decided to focus only on soccer. Mailey Harris transferred to Denton. And the biggest blow was when shooting guard Hannah Sellinger tore an ACL in the summer and is out for the season.
Head coach Darren Wilson had a plan in place to move a talented but untested group of freshmen through the junior varsity before weaving some or all into the varsity. Those plans changed when Sellinger went down. Everybody is with the varsity.
That starts with freshman guard Hunter Roach, followed by Elle Michener, Kaitlyn Randall and Alexia Matheus. The results have been good to this point. Byron Nelson was 5-1 before it played Birdville on Tuesday.
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“It’s been challenging because there are moments where they will say they don’t get what we’re asking,” Wilson said. “But the best part of is that they are all so versatile. We can run any kind of offense and defense. They are picking things up pretty quickly.”
Wilson had been watching this group at the middle schools and anticipated they would make an impact. He just didn’t anticipate it being this soon.
He has two veterans in senior guard Delanie O’Connell and junior point guard Grace Baker. But when Michener comes off the bench, Baker can shift to the shooting guard. As for the others, they can either play shooting guard, small forward or power forward. That’s because each presents pretty decent height at 5-9 or 5-10. Roach pretty much never leaves the court and plays every position but the post, who sits on the block.
“We can be innovative and sometimes I feel like I can be a mad scientist because they can give us so many options on offense and defense,” Wilson said. “When you have that many choices, you just have to make sure you put them in positions where they will succeed.
“We originally thought that if we put them on the freshmen team, they would beat everybody soundly. If we put them on the JV, they would still win pretty big but that would be fine. Here, they’ve learned what it takes to compete at this level.”
What Wilson has to watch is them hitting the wall. Even though this group plays a lot of select league games, he knows he has to manage minutes by the end of December and into January.
Nelson is scheduled to play in the Weatherford tournament Thursday-Saturday.
First-year coach Cody Parris saw his program endure some ups and downs through the first three weeks of the season.
The Lady Texans were 2-4 before they played Saginaw on Tuesday. In three of their losses, they have lost by double digits. That included a 49-30 loss to Hurst L.D. Bell before the Thanksgiving break.
This team will go as far as guards Alexus Brigham and Equayla Smith take them. The two each score 20 point in a 77-26 win over Fort Worth Southwest on Nov. 20. They were held to a combined 15 in the loss to L.D. Bell.
Northwest plays in the Lions Club tournament Thursday-Saturday in Haltom City.